Open Fires Always use a fireguard. Firelighters, logs or coal should be stored outside the fireguard – preferably in a container designed for the purpose.Mirrors should not be hung over the fire – it encourages people to get too close to the fire. Clothes should not be aired too close to the fire.Do not sit closer than 1 metre to an open fire. Do not use open fires for rubbish disposal.
Chimneys should be swept at least once a year, depending on use. Where logs are used the chimney should be swept twice a year.Some signs of a chimney fire are red-hot particles falling from the chimney into the hearth, a roaring fire in the chimney or a chimney breast too hot to touch.If a chimney fire is not dealt with promptly it may spread to the rest of the house. Some people believe the Fire Service charge to attend chimney fires – this is not true!
Candles ensure they are not left lit and unattended. Always put them in an approved holder and place on a flat, heat resistant surface. Never place candles on top of a TV or other plastic combustible surfaces. Keep candles out of reach of children and pets and well away from curtains, furniture and draughts.
Never leave a burning candle in a child’s bedroom. Make sure they are properly extinguished, particularly at bedtime, preferably using a ‘snuffer’.Risk of fire or injury is higher if a lighted candle is moved while it is lit.
Smoking Never leave a lit cigarette or pipe unattended – it may fall on to an armchair or carpet, which will quickly catch fire. Use approved deep ashtrays at all times, and only empty them once the contents are cold.
Always keep lighters and matches well out of the reach of children. Smoking in bed is another major cause of fire – the more you discourage it the better. If you know that someone will continue to smoke in bed, even if advised otherwise, ensure that a deep ashtray is available next to the bed.
Electrical sockets should be not overloaded. If several appliances are in use, approved adaptors (preferably the in-line type) should be used. Electrical appliances should not be run off a light socket.Electrical cables should not run under carpets or near to dangerous hazards e.g. a heat source.Look out for signs of dangerous wiring such as: hot plugs and sockets, fuses blowing for no obvious reasons, lights flickering or brown scorch marks on sockets or plugs. If you see any of these warning signs consult your electricity provider or a qualified electrician.
Some appliances are designed to be left on all the time, check the manufacturer's instructions. All other appliances should be switched off or unplugged when not in use.
Remove plugs carefully don't remove them by pulling the flex.Never extend an extension lead. The routing of extension leads should ensure that they do not cause a trip hazard.
Electric blankets cause over 2000 fires every year. Ensure that any new blanket has ‘overheat protection’ which causes the electricity to cut off if it becomes too hot. If a blanket has scorch marks or exposed elements, it should not be used.Hot water bottles should not be used in the same bed as an electric blanket – even if the blanket is switched off. Over blankets are designed to be left on, but under blankets must be switched off before getting into bed. Ensure you check which type you own and use it appropriately.
12 Top Tips To Home Fire Safety
1.Fit smoke alarms on each level in your home. Keep them free from dust and test them once a week. Consider buying a 10-year alarm, otherwise change the batteries in your alarm every year.
2.Make a fire action plan so that everyone in your home knows how to escape if there's a fire.
3.Keep the exits from your home clear so that people can escape if there's a fire. Make sure that everyone in your home can easily find the keys for doors and windows.
4.Take extra care in the kitchen - accidents while cooking account for over half of fires in homes. Never leave young children alone in the kitchen.
5.Take extra care when cooking with hot oil. Consider buying a deep-fat fryer which is controlled by a thermostat (if you don't already have one).
6.Never leave lit candles in rooms that nobody is in or in rooms where children are on their own. Make sure candles are in secure holders on a surface that doesn't burn and are away from any materials that could burn.
7.Make sure cigarettes are stubbed out properly and are disposed of carefully, and never smoke in bed.
8.Get into the habit of closing doors at night. If you want to keep a child's bedroom door open, close the doors to the lounge and kitchen. This may well help save their life if there is a fire.
9.Don't overload electrical sockets. Remember one plug for one socket.
10.Keep matches and lighters where children can't see or reach them.
11.Take special care when you're tired or when you've been drinking.
12.Don't leave the TV or other electrical appliances on standby as this could cause a fire. Always switch them off and unplug when not in use.
Night Time Routine
Many fires in the home start at night. Make sure you have a bedtime fire safety routine to help you and your family keep safe.Switch off and unplug all electrical appliances not designed to stay on; make all smoking materials are put out.
Never smoke in bed and before emptying ashtrays make sure the contents are cold; Turn off all electrical items not designed to stay on continuously, including portable heaters.
Don’t leave TVs on standby and if you can, avoid using the washing machine, tumble dryer or dishwasher overnight. Shut the doors.
Planning Your Escape
If your home catches fire you may have to get out in dark and difficult conditions. It will be a lot easier if you have already planned and rehearsed your escape route and know where to go.Your planned escape route should stay free of any obstructions, loose floor coverings, or anything else that could be a hindrance.
Remember that your escape route may be in darkness. Everyone should be know the escape route and where door and window keys are located. Ideally these should be kept near the relevant locks.
If you have serious mobility difficulties you may consider q bedroom on the ground floor or near to a way out. Ensure at least one window above ground floor level opens fully to allow escape in an emergency.
FIRE ACTION PLAN
Would you know what to do if your smoke alarm went off in the night? Would you and your family be able to escape?
PLAN TOGETHER NOW
Include everyone.Your best route is the way you always come into your home. Think about another way too.Keep your escape routes clear of obstacles; Know where door and window keys are kept; Staying put may be the safer option sometimes.If your escape route is blocked, stay put and protect yourselves until help arrives.
Find a room with a window that opens and if possible, call 999.If you live in a flat and discover the hallways filled with smoke or fire – go back inside and close the door. Do not use the lift.
Practice your Fire Action Plan Knowing what to do could save your life. Take a few minutes to walk the route with your family. Check that everyone is able to operate keys and locks. Review your plan if you make any changes in your home.
If there is a fire Raise the alarm DON'T look for the fire. Raise the alarm and shout to wake everyone up. Follow your plan and get out. If there is a lot of smoke, crawl along the floor where the air will be cleaner. When outside, call the Fire Service from a mobile phone, phone box or a neighbour's house.
If your escape way is blocked Get everyone into one room. Close the door and put bedding or towels along the bottom to seal the gap. Open the window for fresh air. Phone the Fire Service or shout for help. If you are on the ground or first floor, you may be able to escape through the window. Throw some bedding, clothing or soft furnishings out. If you have to break a window, cover sharp edges with any available soft materials.