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Fire safety in the home


If your clothes ever catch on fire remember these important steps:


You should STOP where you are and not run because running will make the fire worse.

DROP down on the ground and ROLL with your arms over your head and this will smother the fire.


To prevent a larger fire, small household fires can be tackled with a fire extinguisher or fire blanket if it is safe to do so, providing it is the correct one for the type of fire you are dealing with. Choose a fire extinguisher designed for home use. Extinguisher’s themselves have clear instructions for use and suggest the best place to locate it in the house.

Every fire is different and no single type of extinguisher is totally effective on every type fire. So before buying one look carefully at what type of fire it is to be used on:

The main types of extinguisher for the home are:

  • Water
  • Foam
  • Dry Powder (ABC rated)
  • Carbon Dioxide (CO2)
  • Dry water Mist


Fire blankets conforming to British Standard BSEN1869:1997 are suitable for use in the home.

They are made from fire-resistant materials and are useful for smothering a person if their clothes catch in fire or for fat pan fires.

Some fire blankets need to be thrown away after use check the blanked it will be marked to state if this is the case or if it can be used again after cleaning. Always use in accordance to the Manufacturer’s instructions.

  • On a fat pan fire you should use either a fire blanket or damp cloth.  
  • Always keep fire blankets in the kitchen. 
  • In the event of a fire the blanket should not be put too close to your cooker as you may not reach it in time. 
  • Always place the fire blanket near an escape route so that you have the option to walk away and contact the Fire and Rescue Service if you feel the fire is too large to tackle.


Electrical Fires

The main cause of electrical fires is due to faulty wiring or poor maintenance of electrical systems. To stop a fire before it starts make sure that all electrical work is carried out by a licensed electrician, also do not overload electrical outlets. Keep them clear of dust, rubbish even spider webs as these can all lead to fires. It is an also use circuit breakers as often as possible as these will stop a power surge from starting a fire.

Turning off your power is the best step to take if your electrical system starts to spark or fire ignites wiring. Make sure you turn the power off at the breaker box, if the system is only sparking this could be enough to stop it spreading and a fire occurring. Do not just unplug your system as this could cause electrocution as well. Turn off power to the electrical system. 

If you need to use an extinguisher on a electrical fire you will need to use a extinguisher suitable for this these are either CO2 (Black ) or Dry powder(Blue) if you cannot cut the power to the source. These contain non-conductive substances unlike a Class A extinguisher which will only contain pressurized water which of course conducts electricity. This all depends if you have been able to turn the power off if so then a class A would be acceptable as you have turned the electrical fire into a standard Class A fire. If you have not been able to extinguish the fire within five seconds then evacuate the property and call the Fire Brigade

Since the faulty wiring is still receiving power in this case, the fire can reignite. You should still cut power to the source as soon as possible.

Another step you can take if you have been able to turn off the power completely if using a fire blanket. If using this again only do so with power off and drape the blanket over the fire do not throw it on . This is very

effective in the early stages and does not damage objects in close proximity as an extinguisher would.

Once the fire is out you should still contact the Fire Service as smouldering objects can reignite and they will be able to remove any risks completely.

Extinguishing Liquid/Oil Fires

Where ever possible when dealing with fires involving flammable liquids you should always turn off the fuel supply first. In most cases the flammable liquid is the only fuel source and the fire may extinguish itself as soon as it is cut off.

Do not use water based extinguishers on a liquid or oil fire. Using a CO2 or dry chemical extinguisher should be used or if the fire is small a fire blanket can be used but make sure that the fire is not to large to smother it. Use a fire blanket to smother the fire. Remember never throw water on a liquid or oil fires. As the oil will settle on top of the water it spray hot burning oil in every direction as it boils off and evaporates and can spread the fire very quickly.

Remember smouldering objects can reignite so it is best to contact the fire service as they can remove any risks completely.

Extinguishing Organic Fires

When extinguishing organic fires – these are when the fuel source is such as wood, cloth, rubber, plastic, paper, etc- then this is mean that you have a class A fire so a water based extinguisher can be used these are colour coded red. To use you will need to aim at the base of the fire and sweep back and forth across it always remember that if you cannot extinguish the fire within five seconds using the extinguisher it is too large and you will need to call the fire service. Also if you do not have an extinguisher you can use a fire blanket as this removed oxygen from the fire which will starve its ability to burn.

You can if it is the only thing available to you, use large amounts of water from the sink but if the fire is spreading and increasing quicker than t=you can douse it evacuate and call the fire Service. As with all fire contact the Fire Service even if you manage to extinguish it as they will make sure that it has no chance of re starting.

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