Fire Safety in the Home
We often think about the need for fire protection and detection in the workplace and how we would manage an emergency escape, but we often forget that these principles are as important within our homes.
Prevention is always better than cure. Some simple things you can check in your home:
- If you have an open fire, clean chimneys regularly and use a fireguard.
- Avoid drying clothes in front of an open fire or on portable heaters.
- If your wiring in your property is old it is more likely to be at risk of electrical fires.
- If a fire breaks out in your kitchen, do not use the extractor fan. This can spread the fire through your property.
- Use candle holders for candles and tea lights, and keep them away from flammable surfaces, curtains, and soft furnishings.
- Never leave lit candles unattended and extinguish all candles prior to going to bed.
- Clean the lint trap in tumble dryers. Lint build up is often the cause of fires in homes.
- If you smoke never leave lit cigarettes unattended, and use a proper ashtray.
- Leave matches and lighters away from the reach of children.
- Only buy electrical equipment from reputable retailers. Look for the BAEB approved or “kitemark”.
- Do not overload plug sockets, and if an electrical item has frayed cables, cracked casing or plugs, remove from use
Smoke alarms save lives. However, they only work if they have adequate power. Test your alarms weekly, and replace batteries as required. Make sure you have smoke alarms located on each floor.
Should the worst happen, what would you do if a fire broke out in your home? Do you have a plan to get out? It is really important that these plans are made and communicated to your household prior to a fire event. Should an alarm go off. Shout and alert others. If the fire breaks out at night and other people are asleep in the home, they may not hear the alarm if they are deep sleepers. Check doors prior to opening with the back of your hand. Close doors as you leave to help prevent the spread of the fire. The best escape route is always your normal route in and out of your home, but make sure you have alternative plans in case that route is blocked. Once you have left the building do not go back in, even if others are left inside. Call the fire brigade and inform them if anyone else is left in the building and they will work to rescue them.
Lastly, whilst not an immediate concern in the event of a fire, ensure you are adequately insured under your contents insurance, and buildings insurance if you are a homeowner. Remember, the contents of your home can be replaced, but your loved ones cannot, so ensure you take fire safety seriously in your home.
For more information check out the government website (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/make-your-home-safe-from-fire) and your local fire authority