Tips for fire safety and fire prevention in the home

Every home contains fire risks – from candles to frying pans and electrical appliances. Our fire safety and fire prevention tips will help you keep your property safe.

Chris King From the Home team
5
minute read
posted

Get a smoke alarm

A smoke alarm is one of the most important ways to protect your home from the risk of 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. With smoke alarms, it’s important to:

  • 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.
Smoke detector
  • Replace the batteries every year.
  • Opt for a strobe light or vibrating pad alarm, if you’re hard of hearing. 
  • Only buy smoke alarms that are reputable – they’ll feature the LPCB logo or the well-known kite mark

Be wary of candles

Candles cause at least two house fires a day in the UK. 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.  
  • Be sure to blow your candle out fully before you leave the room.

Cook with fire safety in mind

For most of us, cooking at home is part of a normal daily routine. It’s another major fire hazard, though – accounting for half of all house fires in the UK. So here are a few dos and don’ts: 

Don’t:

  • 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.

Do: 

  • Keep your oven and hob clean – grease and fat deposits can build up and 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 you’re cooking with 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. One plug in each socket is the rule to live by, 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.
Electrical plugs

How to help prevent fires during the night

A lot of fires start during the night, and that’s when they’re potentially most lethal. Doing a few quick checks before going to bed is one way of helping to make sure your home stays safe from fire during the night. The government recommends you do the following, before lights out:

  • Close your inside doors – if doors are closed there’s less chance of a fire spreading.
  • 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.  
  • Make sure any heaters are turned 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 where they’re easily accessible to you and your family.

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 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.

Compare the Market’s simple comparison tool helps you compare policies from a range of UK insurance providers, in a matter of minutes. And you could save money too. 50% of customers could save up to £111** on their buildings insurance when they compare quotes with us. 

**50% of people could achieve a quote of £111 per year for their buildings home insurance based on Compare the Market data in August 2019.

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