Safe in your home
Are you at risk from fire?
27,800 fires in homes in England in 2020 – that’s more than 75 fires in homes every day!
- 20,800 in houses, bungalows, and converted properties
- 7,000 in purpose built blocks of flats
Fire affected almost one in every 1,000 homes in England in 2020 179 people died in fires in their home. More than 2,000 people required hospital treatment after a fire.
What causes fire in the home?
Cooking: 48% of fires in homes and 14% of deaths from fires in the home
Smoking: 7% of fires and a whopping 23% of deaths from fires in the home
Misuse of electrical equipment or appliances: 34% of fires and 15% of deaths from fires in the home.
Keeping you and your family safe
- Fit smoke alarms (you are 8 times more likely to die in a fire if you have no smoke alarm).
- When you buy them, look for the BS kite mark and the Loss Prevention Certification Board (LPCB) mark.
- Put them in the right places (on the ceiling in the hallway is a good place)
- Make sure there’s a least one on every floor in your home, and put them where you can hear them when you are asleep.
- Make sure you choose the correct type for your kitchen, and don’t put one in the bathroom.
- Test them every month.
- Press and hold the button – if they stay silent replace the battery or the smoke alarm (you may need to use an electrician if the smoke detector is mains powered).
- If you can’t fit smoke alarms yourself, ask your local fire service if they will carry out a ‘safe and well’ check and fit some for you (most will).
- If you live in a rented home, your landlord should install smoke detectors for you before you move in and replace them when it’s time to do so.
- If the smoke alarm goes off by mistake (maybe you burned the toast) wait for it to stop – do not remove the batteries – waving a tea towel at it can help to move fresh air to it and stop the alarm.
- If a smoke alarm starts to bleep slowly it’s time to change the battery.
Take care while cooking
- Keep children out of the kitchen while you cook
- Don’t leave fat or oil on the stove unattended – stay with it, and if it gets too hot, turn the heat off and let it cool down
- If fat or oil catches fire, do not pour water on it – turn the heat off and cover it with a fire blanket if you have one (but don’t take chances, get out, call the fire service, stay out)
Take care with electricity
- Don’t overload sockets
- Only one plug in a socket is best
- Use a good quality trailing lead with multiple sockets and just one plug rather than a plug-in adapter
- Don’t use an adapter for things that use lots of electricity – the washing machine, tumble dryer, electric fire, etc. – plug them into their own socket
- Check for broken plugs and damaged wires – if they’re damaged, stop using them immediately, and replace them, or get an electrician to look at them
- Don’t leave chargers plugged in when they’re not in use, and don’t have devices charging with you in bed
- Smoking starts a lot of fires, and those fires kill people (23% of deaths in fires in homes)
- Don’t smoke in bed
- Don’t leave smoking materials burning unattended
- When you put it out, make sure it really is out
- Replace flame candles with LED candles – good ones are very, very realistic
- Never leave a flame candle unattended
- Keep flame candles away from anything else that can burn – curtains, wastepaper, etc.
- Never let children have flame candles, and watch out for pets knocking them over
- Replace flame candles with LED candles – they really are very realistic and much safer
Have a plan to get out
- Make sure everyone in the house knows how to get out in an emergency
- If you have escape windows, make sure it is safe to drop to the ground below
- Make sure everyone knows where the keys are for doors and windows (keep keys close to any escape exit or replace locks that need a key on the inside for a lock with a thumb turn)
- Keep the exits clear so that you can get to them in the dark
- Close doors – even ordinary doors slow down fire
- Make sure the cooker is off
- Unplug anything electrical that isn’t needed overnight
- Make sure smoking materials and candles are completely out
- If you have an open fire, make sure it is out with a fire guard around it
- Don’t leave the washing machine or tumble dryer on overnight