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Protecting your home against fire

In this short video we look at how you can help protect your family and home from the risk of a fire.

Top tips for fire safety in your home

House fires can be caused by a number of different factors, including cooking accidents and faulty electrics. Here are some top tips to help you take precautions to protect your home and your family in case an accident occurs.

Smoke alarms

  • Safety approved smoke alarms should be fitted to each floor of your home
  • Never disconnect or remove batteries from your smoke alarm, even if it goes off accidentally
  • Consider a mains-powered smoke alarm as they don’t require batteries. They must be installed by a qualified electrician
  • If you live in large house or one that has several levels, you can install linked smoke alarms which will go off together if smoke is detected by just one of them
  • Your local fire station may offer a free fire safety visit and may even offer to install smoke alarms in your home for free
  • For more fire safety information please visit www.gov.uk/firekills

Safety In the kitchen

  • If you need to leave the kitchen while cooking, take pans off heat or turn the heat down
  • A build-up of fat and grease could ignite a fire so make sure your oven, hob and grill are all clean and in working order
  • Keep tea towels and cloths away from the cooker and hob
  • If you have small children in your home, make sure pan handles are not within reach
  • If a pan does catch fire, don’t throw water over it
  • Turn off the heat if it’s safe to do so
  • Call the fire brigade on 999

Electrical fires

Electrical appliances conformity marking

  • Fires can be started by faulty electrical appliances
  • Any electrical appliance you use should have a British or European safety mark on it
  • Make sure this mark is on the appliance when you buy it
  • Check the right fuses are being used on appliances
  • Using the wrong fuse could cause overheating
  • If you use extension leads or adapters make sure you don’t overload them
  • Take note of the amp limit on any adapters used
  • Unplug electric blankets before going to bed
  • Make sure they are stored flat, rolled up or loosely folded to prevent damage to the wiring

Plan an escape route

  • Should you ever need to evacuate your home, plan a safe escape route
  • Make sure your family know the safest way to get out of the house in the event of a fire
  • If doors or windows are locked, make sure everyone knows where the keys are
  • Never re-enter a building that’s on fire
  • Call the fire brigade on 999

Log Burners

  • Log burners should be professionally installed
  • Ensure your log burner is the minimum distance required away from potentially combustible materials as instructed by the manufacturers guide
  • You should install a carbon monoxide detector, as well as a smoke detector
  • Your log burner should be serviced annually in line with the manufacturer’s recommendations
  • Get your chimney swept regularly; this will remove soot, blockages and built-up creosote
  • Check the manufacturers guide for what fuel is appropriate to use – hardwoods, such as beech, ash, hickory or oak are the best fuel for a wood burning stove. Multi-fuel stoves can also use coal as fuel
  • Wood should be stored in a cool and dry location ideally indoors; if kept outdoors ensure it is either kept in a shed or covered by a tarp to protect it from moisture. Well-seasoned wood should have been dried for at least one year
  • Do not use treated wood because it can produce harmful gas emissions which may affect your health
  • Make sure any external ventilation drills are not blocked
  • Wait until ash is cold before removing it. Ashes are an extremely insulating material and can contain glowing pieces long after the log burner is put out

Furniture tips

  • Avoid leaving glass objects, such as bottles and vases, in areas where they can be directly hit by sunlight (e.g. on a window sill)
  • Keep all forms of mirrors out of direct sunlight (they can reflect light onto curtains, clothing, paper or furniture and causes fires)

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