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Tips for fire safety and fire prevention in the home

Anything from candles to frying pans and electrical appliances could start a fire in your home. Find out how to keep you, your family and your home safe from fire with our guide.

Anything from candles to frying pans and electrical appliances could start a fire in your home. Find out how to keep you, your family and your home safe from fire with our guide.

Written by
Rachel Lacey
Insurance and money expert
26 JANUARY 2021
6 min read
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Top tips for protecting your home from fire

A fire can cause devastating damage to your home and put lives at risk. But most house fires are preventable if you take a few simple precautions.

Get a smoke alarm

A smoke alarm is one of the most important ways to protect your home from fire. At the very least, it will alert you to a fire before it gets out of control – giving you time to get out of the building and call the fire service.

Always make sure you:

  • Have at least one smoke alarm on every floor of your home.
  • Test your smoke alarms monthly.
  • Never disconnect or take the batteries out of your smoke alarm - even if your burnt toast keeps setting it off.
  • Replace the batteries every year.
  • If you have hearing problems choose a strobe light or vibrating pad alarm.
  • Only buy smoke alarms that are reputable – they’ll feature the LPCB logo or the well-known kite mark

Take care with candles

Candles might be romantic, but they can also cause fires if left burning unattended. Here’s how to stop yours becoming a fire hazard: 

  • Keep candles away from curtains, shelves and other flammable materials.
  • Always burn candles in a secure holder.
  • Never leave children or pets alone with lit candles.
  • Blow candles out fully before you leave the room.

Cook with fire safety in mind

Cooking is another major fire hazard. We need to eat though, so always be sure to follow these dos and don’ts:


  • Leave pots and pans unattended.
  • Leave children alone in the kitchen.
  • Leave saucepan handles sticking out, where they might get knocked over.
  • Leave flammable materials (tea towels and cloths) near a lit hob.
  • Pour water onto hot fat.


  • Keep your oven and hob clean – grease and fat deposits could trigger a fire.
  • Keep your toaster clean – for much the same reason.
  • Keep plugs and electric leads away from water.
  • Take pans off the heat if any fat starts to smoke – fat can easily set alight.

A few more fire prevention tips

There are a number of other fire-savvy steps you can take to help keep your home safe:

  • Try not to overload sockets with too many electrical appliances. Only put one plug in each socket, particularly for appliances that use a lot of electricity – like washing machines and electric fires.
  • Check plugs and wires for damage – faulty plugs/wires can become a fire hazard.
  • Unplug electrical appliances when you’re not using them.
  • Make sure any furniture you buy has a fire-resistant label.
  • If you’re a smoker, never leave a lit cigarette unattended and always make sure they’re fully extinguished before you leave the room or go to bed.

How to help prevent fires during the night

Fires during the night are potentially the most lethal. Doing a few quick checks before you go to bed is one way of helping to make sure your home stays safe from fire overnight.

The government recommends you do the following, before lights out:

  • Close your inside doors – if doors are closed it’s harder for fire to spread.
  • Unplug electrical appliances to minimise the risk of a fault – but leave your fridges and freezers plugged in.
  • Check your cooker’s switched off.
  • Don’t leave your washing machine and tumble dryer on at night.
  • Turn any heaters off.
  • If you’ve got an open fire, put a fire-guard around the fireplace.
  • Make sure nothing’s blocking your outside doors.
  • Leave door keys within easy reach.

What to do if you discover a fire

It’s a situation we all hope to never find ourselves in, but if a fire does break out in your home, here’s what to do:

  • Get everyone out immediately. Nothing’s as valuable as your life, so forget about gathering up personal possessions.
  • Call 999 as soon as you can.
  • If there’s smoke, stay low – the closer you are to the floor, the clearer the air will be.
  • Before you open a door, check whether it’s warm – a hot door could mean there’s fire on the other side.
  • Get yourself somewhere safe and wait for the emergency services to arrive – whatever you do, don’t try to tackle the fire yourself.

Does my insurance cover fire?

Your buildings insurance should cover you in the event of a fire. But check you’re insured for the right amount – you should have buildings insurance that covers the full rebuild value of your home – that’s how much it would cost you to rebuild your home from scratch if it was destroyed by a fire or flood, for example. The rebuild cost isn’t the same as your home’s current market value.

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