Fire in the Home

Fire Safety in the Home – Reducing the Risk

Every home is potentially vulnerable to a fire. Even a small fire can cause thousands of pounds of damage and endanger life. Vigilance, common sense and awareness of the possible dangers can greatly reduce the fire risk by following our checklist below you and your family can greatly reduce the risk of fire breaking out.

Remember that every day:

  • 200 homes suffer a fire
  • one person dies and 40 people are injured as a result of fire in the home

Yet following these common sense steps will greatly reduce you and your family becoming another fire statistic:

  • Fit smoke detectors. Smoke detectors can detect the earliest stages of a fire, so make sure you have at least one fitted on each floor of your home. And make sure they work! Regularly check battery levels and replace when necessary.

  • Check your electrics. Faulty electrical wiring and appliances are a common cause of fire, so:
    • Ensure your electrical wiring is safe. Only use a qualified electrician to carry out any repairs or alterations.
    • Check flexes and cables for any exposed wires.
    • Do not overload power sockets with too many appliances.
  • Kitchen care. More fires start in the kitchen than anywhere else in the home, with cooking appliances the main cause. So when working in the kitchen never leave anything heating by flame unattended. And if fat catches fire, do not use water to try to put it out-turn off the heat immediately and smother the flames with a damp cloth, lid or plate.

    It is sensible to have a household fire extinguisher and fire blanket.

  • Flammable liquids. Take special care when using and storing flammable liquids, such as methylated spirit, adhesives, and paints. Avoid using and storing petrol in the home.

    They should be kept in a secure container in a secure safe, tidy place, ideally in an outbuilding such as a shed.

  • Remove rubbish. Rubbish provides a natural fuel for fire, so regularly clear rubbish from attics, cupboards and other areas where it may build up.
  • Smokers beware. Cigarettes, cigars and pipes should always be firmly stubbed out in an ashtray. Do not smoke when feeling tired, to avoid the risk of a cigarette starting a fire if you fall asleep.
  • Special occasions can bring additional risks. Think about any additional fire hazards associated with special occasions, such as party decorations, Christmas tree lights and barbecues.
  • Consider the vulnerable. Children, who may not appreciate the dangers of fire, and the more elderly, who may not be able to get out quickly if fire occurs, are particularly vulnerable.

    Young children should never be left alone in the house. Matches and flammable material must be kept out of a child's reach. All fires should have fireguards.

Plan how you and your family would get out of the house quickly and safely if a fire occurs.

If you run a business, you will need to have in place fire prevention measures and procedures to minimise the fire risks associated with your business. Your commercial insurer will be able to give advice.

General fire reduction guidance for businesses is available from the Fire Protection Association

This document is reproduced with the permission of ABI – The Association of British Insurers.

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