Fire Safety in Your Home: What you need to know
- There are around 35,000 house fires in the UK every year.
- Great Britain has more than 300 fire-related deaths annually.
- As people struggle with energy bills and try and find alternatives, the London Fire Brigade recorded more than 100 house fires caused by log burners, in the three month period to May this year.
- 42 people die each year because their smoke alarm is not working.
- Around half of home fires are caused by cooking accidents.
- Two fires a day are started by candles.
- 5% of us feel unsafe in our homes, afraid a fire will break out, according to MHCLG’s 2019-2020 English Housing Survey.
- Smoke alarms and heat alarms are different so you need to choose the right alarm for the right room – heat alarms are perfect for your kitchen.
Keeping our families safe from fire is always a priority – and it’s not surprising we all worry about it, given the facts above. We have put together a list of the most important things to consider, to prevent fire in your home – there’s lots more to it than just fitting a smoke alarm!
Fire prevention: The most important things to consider
Identifying all the fire risks in your home: Either independently, or with support from specialists via home fire safety check tools, or a fire brigade visit, make sure you assess each room for possible fire risks. Consider how old your appliances are and when they were last checked for safety, for example. Do you have a log burner, lots of extension leads in use or old electrics? There are lots of potential fire risks in any home, so it’s important to work out what these are and how to minimise your risks. There are some common risks that can easily be overlooked, like do your children fall asleep with their phones in their bed, or do you?
Fitting smoke and heat alarms: These alarms are a must, and ensure you check the batteries regularly, even in alarms that are wired in and which use them as a back-up – you are eight times more likely to die in a house fire if you do not have smoke alarms. Heat alarms are perfect for the kitchen as they will let you know that there is a fire, without going off every time you burn the sausages!
Specialist alarms for any vulnerable people in your home: If you have any member of your household that may find it more difficult to escape, for example due to age or disability, then look at providing them with their own alarm to ensure they can let the household or a third party control room know that they need help.
Cooking and smoking: With 60% of all home fires starting in the kitchen and smoking being the number one cause of fire fatalities (every six days someone dies from a fire caused by a cigarette), make sure that you heed the advice from the specialists about how to do both as safely as possible in your home.
What to do if: Make a list of all the issues you might face personally, if the worst should happen, and make sure you know what to do if they do. For example, what’s the best thing to do if your clothes catch fire? How can you minimise the devastating effects of smoke inhalation?
Fire extinguishers: Will you be able to find your fire extinguishers quickly and easily in an emergency? How many fire extinguishers should you have in your home, and what type should they be and where is one best located? Does everyone in your household know how to work them?
Planning an escape route: Make sure you and your family all know how to get out of any room if there is a fire, it’s important that you involve your children in this plan too.
Dialling 999: As adults we know this is what we need to do at the first sign of a fire in our home, but do our children know that every second counts and that it’s 999 they need to dial, even if you’re not in the room? Do they know it’s OK to use your phone in an emergency, and do they know it’s 999, and not 911 as many of their US TV programmes might have taught them?
Fire doors: Having fire doors in your home can give you those vital extra minutes – 30 minutes with an FD30 fire door. But it’s essential that your fire doors are accredited, fitted correctly, maintained and regularly inspected to ensure they are working appropriately.