If a fire occurs in your home, what can you do to ensure that you and your family get out quickly and safely? The first essential is to stop a fire starting. Here are some fire safety tips which will help you prevent a fire.
Fit a smoke alarm
Did you know that you are four times more likely to die in a fire if you don’t have a working smoke alarm?
- Check regularly that your smoke alarm(s) work.
- Fit at least one smoke alarm in your home.
- Fit the alarm on the ceiling outside the main bedroom door in accordance with the manufacturer's recommendations.
- Preferably fit one smoke alarm per floor of your home.
- To help reduce false alarms there are different types of alarms for different areas of your home.
- For those who are deaf or hard of hearing, there are strobe and vibration smoke alarm systems. Contact Action for Hearing Loss on 0808 808 0123 for more information.
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After fitting and testing your smoke alarms regularly, here are some fire safety tips which will help you to prevent a fire from starting
- Never try to cook while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Don't leave pans on the hob when you're not around. Take them off the heat if you have to leave the kitchen.
- Keep the over, hob, toaster and grill clean - a build-up of fat, crumbs or grease can easily catch fire.
- Take care if you're wearing loose clothing as it can easily catch fire.
- Keep electrical leads, tea towels and dishcloths away from the cooker or hob.
- Angle saucepan handles so they don't stick out from the hob, or over a naked flame.
- Don't use matches or lighters to light gas cookers - spark devices, which you can buy from hardware stores, are safer.
- Never leave children alone in the kitchen.
- Fit a safety catch on the oven door.
- Don't put anything that is made of metal or is metallic inside the microwave.
- When you have finished cooking, make sure you switch off the oven and hob.
Chip pans and deep fat fryers
- Around 20 people a year are seriously injured attempting to fight fires in chip pans themselves. Never fill the fryer more than a third full of oil.
- Never use wet chips in the fryer.
- Never leave the fryer unattended.
- Don't let the fryer overheat. If the oil is smoking then it’s too hot.
- If the pan catches fire, don't throw water on to it - you will only spread the fire and maybe hurt yourself in the process.
- Don't move the pan.
- Don't attempt to put the fire out yourself.
- If safe to do so, turn off the heat. It may be safer to turn off the gas or electricity at the mains isolator.
- Close the door to the kitchen, and all other doors.
- Get out, stay out and call 999
- Don't smoke if you are tired, have consumed alcohol or taken drugs.
- Always use a proper ashtray, and never place ashtrays on soft furnishings.
- Never leave smoking materials unattended.
- Keep matches and lighters out of children's reach and sight.
- Never smoke in bed.
- Ensure all smoking materials are extinguished and disposed of properly at night.
- Never empty ashtrays into plastic containers. Always use a metal bin.
Open fires, chimneys and heaters
- Have gas fires and boilers serviced at least once a year.
- Have your chimney swept by a professional at least once a year.
- Ensure portable gas heaters are properly maintained. Turn off and remove immediately if you have any doubts or if there is a smell of gas.
- Never cover fan or convector heaters as they will quickly overheat.
- Never rest clothes or newspapers on the guard or near to the fire.
- Never place mirrors above open fires.
- Always use a fireguard in front of your fire.
- Always used seasoned wood. Fresh cut wood can be dangerous.
- Only burn fuels that have been designed for your type of fire.
- Never burn waste on your open fire.
- Candles, tealights and nightlights should be in an appropriate holder.
- Holders should be placed on a flat surface away from furnishings.
- A clear area of at least 30cm around and 100cm above a candle should be maintained at all times.
- Candles should never be left in a room unattended.
- Always extinguish candles before going to bed.
- Use a candle snuffer to extinguish candles properly.
- Never leave a match in a tealight or other candle as this could cause the candle to overheat and cause a fire.
- Plan an escape route and make sure everyone knows how to escape.
- Make sure the exits are kept clear.
- The best route is the normal way in and out of your home.
- Think of a second route in case the first one is blocked.
- Review your plan if the layout of your home changes.
- Keep door and window keys where everyone can find them.
- Make children aware of where they should go if they hear the smoke alarm.
- Practise your escape plan with your family.
- Close inside doors at night to stop a fire from spreading.
- Turn off and unplug electrical appliances unless they are designed to be left on – like your freezer.
- Check that you cooker is turned off.
- Don’t leave the washing or dishwashing machine on.
- Turn heaters off.
- Make sure you use a fire guard on an open fire.
- Put candles and cigarettes our properly.
- Make sure that your exits are kept clear.
- Keep door and window keys where everyone can find them.
- Do not smoke in bed.
- Ensure your children have nightclothes that are non-flammable.
- If you have a mobile phone, leave it in the bedroom overnight as a fire may cut the supply to any telephone extension you have there.
In the event of a fire
- You will only have a short time to get out - fire and smoke spread very quickly. Stay calm.
- Remember, fumes from furniture contain poisonous gases and can kill people.
- Implement your fire plan.
- If smoke is coming out of the room which is on fire, close the door to prevent it spreading.
- Before opening a closed door, feel the door using the back of your hand. If it is warm, do not open it because the fire could be on the other side.
- Get everyone out of the house as quickly as possible - don't waste time by trying to collect valuables or possessions.
- If it’s smoky, keep as low to the ground as possible to avoid breathing in the smoke and to allow you to see your way out.
- If you have a phone with you call 999, otherwise shout FIRE, FIRE, FIRE. Try to alert neighbours and get them to call 999.
- Do not go back into your home.
- REMEMBER - GET OUT, STAY OUT, CALL 999