Every year in the UK there are over 250 deaths and 7,500 casualties as a result of fires occurring in houses. Many of these fires could have been prevented by taking simple precautions. This part of our website will help you to identify the main causes of fire and adopt the best method of detecting, extinguishing and escaping a fire should one occur. The Fire and Rescue Service will visit your home free of charge to advise on any aspect of fire safety in your home. In many cases, they will also provide free smoke detectors. We hope you find this information useful.
Be careful with saucepans always ensure that saucepan handles don’t stick out.
Make sure small children can’t reach saucepans.
Always make sure you follow manufacturer’s guidelines before using.
Only use the microwaves own cord, never add an extension cord to the microwave. Microwave ovens should use a separate 110 grounded circuit.
Make sure that you don’t use plastic wrappers in the microwave as they may melt.
Make sure that you never fill your pan with more than a third with fat or oil. Always dry your food before placing in as any liquids could cause it to spit. Never leave your pan unattended when switched on. If your pan begins to smoke or the fat/oil gets to hot just switch off and leave to cool down. If it does catch fire never throw water on it, use a fire blanket or a damp cloth to smother the flames.
Toaster may seem like a harmless piece of kitchen equipment but they need to be used correctly as with any electrical appliance. Always make sure that the crumb trays are kept emptied as any debris can cause the toaster to catch fire. Never place the toaster on a hob or near the sink, never immerse the appliance in water.
Also never place the toaster on its side it is not a grill and should only be used a per manufacturers instructions.
We would like to remind you to follow some simple safety advice when using washing machines or dishwashers.
Millions of people experience fires in their kitchens due to grime.
Always check wiring look out for signs of wear or loose wiring, scorch marks. Make sure that plugs and sockets do not get hot . Circuit breaker that seem to trip for no reason or flickering lights can be a sign of an electrical problem. Check and replace old cables and leads, especially if they are hidden from view – e.g. under carpets or behind furniture.
Always check the maximum current rating on any extension cable by plugging in appliances which overload the cable it can cause the wall socket to overheat and possibly cause a fire. Only use one plug per socket and when buying an electrical appliance make sure that it has British or European safety mark on it. Try to unplug when not in use or when going to bed.
Don’t smoke in a soft chair or sofa if you think you may fall asleep & never smoke in bed. Don’t leave a lit cigarette, cigar, or pipe lying around. Stub cigarettes out properly and always dispose of them carefully. Make sure smoking materials are cold before emptying ashtrays – preferably wet them before throwing them into a bin.
Only purchase an e-cigarette from a reputable source.
Never mix components from different e-cigarettes and only use the charger provided.
Whilst charging never leave unattended or for long periods of time as it can overheat.
To celebrate or create a special atmosphere candles are used often in our homes. Many people forget that this is bringing fire into the home and should be treated with great care. Never leave candles unattended and make sure that they are kept on a heat resistant surface preferably in a candle holder. Do not place anywhere near curtains or any fabrics which could catch fire this also goes for clothing and hair. Always make sure that the candles are extinguished when not in use.
Fairy lights are a beautiful way to brightened up your Christmas tree but can also be a hazard so make sure that you check that the right fuses are in use so as not to overload. If there is any blown bulbs replace before use.
Always turn off fairy lights before going out or going to bed.
Never overload the sockets.
Be careful using any decorations made of light tissue paper or cardboard as these burn easily.
Never place decorations to close to bulbs on the tree as these can get hot.
Never place decorations on lights or heaters.
Don’t put them immediately above or around the fireplace.
Keep them away from candles.
If you decide to go for an artificial tree check for the fire retardant label. Only buy a tree that clearly states it is certified fire retardant.
Make sure that your tree does not block any exits or ways out as a Christmas tree can pose another potential fire hazard.
Do not place your tree near any other heat source such as radiators or your fireplace.
The use in hair straighteners has seen a rise in accidents and a large portion of burning incidents were found to be found to be due to children coming into contact with hair straighteners. Hair straighteners typically reach a very high temperature somewhere in the region of 220°C, and they take a long time to cool down. A lot of people are unaware that even after been switched off and unplugged , they can still burn a child up to 8 minutes after.
You are more at risk from fire whilst asleep so it’s a good idea to check before going to bed.
Check that all electrical appliances are unplugged and switched off unless they are designed to be left on for example your Fridge/Freezer. Make sure that all exits are clear and not blocked in the event your need to evacuate in the night.
Check that Washing machine/Cooker etc are all off and any candles or cigarettes used are all extinguished correctly. Close any inside doors to stop the chance of fire spreading and keep all door and window keys in a place where everyone can find then easily if needed.
These are pictures of a sunlight blaze which was caused by a mirror focussing rays onto bedding. Be careful when placing mirrors crystal balls or even bottles of water on your window sill as the sunrays can have a very bad effect. Top tip
Barbecue’s are an enjoyable activity but as with everything things can get out of control.
A fire anywhere is dangerous or even deadly but garage fires can often cause more devastation. As with a house fire you may detect this quickly a garage fire can take a lot longer to be found which can cause them to spread more quickly. Most people store combustible items and their garages and a simple spark can lead to a fire or even an explosion so make sure you are careful of what is stored. It is always better to keep these items in your garage rather than your home but make sure that they are stored correctly and the garage is clean and clear from any clutter or rubbish in case the worse should happen.
Fireworks are fun but they are also dangerous. If you are not going to an organised fireworks event and plan to set off fireworks of your own, make sure that everyone know how to deal with them safely.
If you have a bonfire, follow these simple guidelines
You can avoid fires in your home by having a working smoke alarm. Smoke alarms are a crucial step towards protecting yourself from fire, but what would you do if it went off during the night? Have a plan ready for an emergency!
Furniture and Furnishings (Fire Safety) Regulations 1988/1989, 1993 and 2010
The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire Safety) Regulations 1988 (amended 1989 and 1993) are UK law and are designed to ensure that upholstery components and composites used for furniture supplied in the UK meet specified ignition resistance levels and are suitable labelled.
Products covered by the Regulations comprise six groups (A to F)
A) All types of upholstered seating including chairs, settees, padded stools and ottomans. Children’s furniture, foot stools, sofa-beds, futons and other convertibles, bean bags and floor cushions, nursery furniture and upholstered items designed to contain a baby or small child. Domestic upholstered furniture that is supplied in kit form for self-assembly. Second hand furniture, upholstered head-boards, footboards and side rails of beds.
B) Furniture for use in the open air (garden and outdoor furniture) which is suitable for use in a dwelling (homes and caravans), upholstery in caravans (although not vehicles or boats). Cane furniture which includes upholstery.
C) Divans, bed-bases, mattresses, pillows, and mattress pads (toppers) (FILLING MATERIAL ONLY)
D) Scatter cushions and seat pads (FILLING MATERIAL ONLY)
E) Permanent covers for furniture (textiles, coated textiles, leather etc) Loose and stretch covers for furniture. Covers for non-visible parts of furniture
F) Foam and non-foam filling material for furniture
Appropriate to new furniture which meets the filling requirements and is cigarette resistant. This applies to the likes of baby nests and the word “product” may be substituted for the word “furniture” on the second side of this label.
Appropriate to new furniture with a limited range of cover fabrics. The cover fabric is not match resistant, but the furniture has an interliner which passes the specified test. The furniture meets the filling requirements and is cigarette resistant.
Appropriate to new furniture which meets the filling requirements and is both cigarette and match resistant.
These detect charged particles in smoke
These react to light blockage caused by smoke
These are Heat detectors that react to the heat of the fire
Fixed sensors have lower false positives
These sense infrared energy of flame or pulsating of the flame
Very FAST response time but expensive!
These detectors are effective at detecting slow-burning as well as flaming fires
Smoke alarms are available from almost everywhere now from DIY and electrical shops also most supermarkets now stock them. They are easy to install and are affordable .
Smoke alarms or detectors are an important asset to any home as they give peace and mind by providing early vital warnings and allow you extra time to escape from your home
You should think about an alarm with a strobe light and vibrating-pad system if you are deaf, a little hard of hearing or simply a heavy sleeper.
These alarms work in the same way as other smoke alarms
If you have any sight difficulties you could place tactile indicators along your escape route. Test your escape route to make sure you feel comfortable following them.
If you have trouble seeing your alarm to test it you can place a coloured sticker, or ask your local fire and rescue service if they can provide a coloured cover.
To ensure that your appliances are switched off correctly you can fit bump-ons (also known as plastic blisters).
Checking leads regularly is important these can be checked by touch and if they are found to be frayed or faulty do not plug them in or switch them on. If electrics are giving off a burning smell turn them off and unplug them immediately.
If you have difficulty with mobility you may find it difficult to test your alarm if so ask someone to do it for you. You can get easy access alarms which can be on wall as opposed to the ceiling.
You may also consider fitting an intercom to alert someone else in the house if you need help in an emergency
in the house in the event of an emergency.
Always make sure that you can access any aids you require such as walking sticks quickly in an emergency.
Any home that contains fuel burning appliances such as a boiler should make sure that a carbon monoxide alarm is fitted and tested regularly.
As with any pressurized equipment make sure that it is always kept in a dry well ventilated area out of direct sunlight and away from any heat sources.
Never use your oxygen near a naked flame this includes gas and electric cookers always make sure you are a safe distance of 3 metres.
If you have any concerns or need further information always contact your oxygen supplier who will be able to assist.
As with any alarm make sure that you test it regularly
Always have any fuel-burning appliances serviced annually by a Gas Safe Registered engineer
Make sure that there are no blockages in chimney flues, so make sure these are swept at least once a year and make sure that all ventilation is kept clear.
Check every room to make sure that air vents are clear and that each room has enough ventilation in case a leak does occur.
If a carbon monoxide leak does occur Be aware of the symptoms: headaches, dizziness, nausea, breathlessness, collapsing and loss of consciousness are all signs of CO poisoning
If the above symptoms seem to clear up once you are away from your home or if other people within the home experience the same then this could be a key sign to exposure.
If your clothes ever catch on fire remember these important steps:
STOP! DROP! ROLL!
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:
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.
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.
Wherever 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.
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.
If for any reason the hallways are blocked by fire and you cannot exit, call the fire brigade notify them of your exact position. Make sure that any doors between yourself and the fire are closed and if possible use duck tape or towels to try to form a seal also over air vents to stop smoke from getting in. Gather everyone in one room and open the window never break in case outside smoke gets in. Wait for the fire bridge to arrive.
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