Disclaimer: We are providing this information with intentions that readers will use it as a first step learning about fire safety at home and won’t use this article as a definitive guide to fire safety. For this more detail assessment of your current situation has to take place.
The four golden rules of Fire Safety at home
Fit working smoke alarms and ensure to test them regularly
Install smoke alarms today and make sure they are in good working order. Working smoke alarms will warn you if there is a fire. Please note that your sense of smell does not work when you are asleep, and smoke can put you into the deeper sleep.
If someone in your home is deaf or has impaired hearing, they may not hear an audible warning from a smoke alarm, e.g. if not wearing a hearing aid at night. There are smoke alarm systems on the market that use strobe lights or vibrating pads to give an alert of danger from fire. These offer improved warning for people who may have difficulty hearing a smoke alarm with the audible signal.
Smoke alarms tested by pressing the “test” button with the handle tip of a floor brush. Replace the batteries when they are not working and once a year in standard alarms, or as soon as you hear the warning beep.
If you have 10-year old smoke alarms, you need to replace the whole assembly every ten years.
Get at least one smoke alarm on each floor of your home. Fit them into the sleeping areas and the kitchen and living rooms – one in the hallway at ground floor, and one at each upper level in the landing. For an enhanced level of protection, consideration may also be given to fitting alarms in living rooms and kitchen, in bedrooms used by vulnerable people or in bedrooms where there is a television or large electrical appliance such as a computer. Heat alarms may also be considered where fumes from cooking or smoke from cigarettes or open fires could lead to a system being triggered without real danger. However smoking inside the house is something we do not recommend.
Position smoke alarms at ceiling level following manufacturer’s instructions.
Vacuum the smoke alarms regularly and wipe the cover. If covered with dust they may not work at the time it is needed.
2. Make a Fire Escape Plan and practice it routinely
Sample Fire fire escape plan – What you need to do if there’s a fire:
Keep your ways out/exit clear at all times
Whether you discover the fire or your smoke alarm warns you, stay calm and put your fire escape plan into action.
Raise the alarm. Wake everyone up and exit with the quickest way, assisting or collecting the very young and vulnerable in the household.
Check doors with the back of your hand – don’t open them if they are warm. This may mean there is the fire is on the other side. Only open the doors that you need to get out of the house.
If there is smoke, crawl along near to the floor where the air will be cleaner.
Do not look for the cause of the fire.
Meet at an assembly point outside of your home and make sure that everyone is out and safe.
Call the fire services at 999 or 112 from a call box, mobile phone or neighbor’s house.
Do not go back in until the Fire services tell you it is safe.
3.Check for fire dangers in your home and correct them
3.1 Prevention is the best way to fight fire
Check your home room by room for fire hazards and correct them. Remember that most fires in the home start in the living room, bedroom, and kitchen at night while we are sleeping.
Put a fire blanket and working extinguisher within easy reach in the kitchen learn how to use them and teach others in a household what needs to be done in the event of the fire.
When cooking always use the back ring first.
Turn in saucepan handles and make sure they are not over other rings.
Keep you cooker clean – grease is a fire risk.
Turn off the stove when you are not using it.
Never use your cooker for drying clothes
Check the cooker is switched off properly before you go to bed.
Clean or replace filters in the extractor fan regularly.
Keep your chimney clean.
Always place candles into proper holders
Do not put candles near items that may catch fire such as curtains, clothes or bedding.
Never leave lit candles unattended.
Place candles away from draughts
Do not move a lit candle
Make sure you put out all candles correctly before you leave the house or go to bed.
Don’t ever smoke when you are feeling tired especially when you are in bed or relaxing in a chair.
Smoking is a real fire risk when you are tired and drowsy. Remember, medication and alcohol can make you tired.
Always use an ashtray when you smoke.
Empty all ashtrays before you go to bed. Run the contents under the tap before you empty the ashtray to ensure they are properly extinguished.
Don’t ever smoke in the bedroom
Keep a torch near your bed for emergency lighting
Bring your mobile phone to your bedroom for emergency use
Take extra care when using electrical items such as cell phone chargers and hair straighteners. Unplug them when you are finished using them and allow them to cool down completely before you put them away.
3.6 Electric blanket
Use electric blankets properly following the manufacturer’s instructions.
Check your electric blanket regularly for wear and damage
Store electric blankets rolled instead of folding them
Get your electric blanket checked regularly
3.6.1 How to recognize a dangerous electric blanket?
Replace your blanket if:
The fabric or Flex is worn or frayed
There are scorch marks anywhere
The tie-tapes are damaged or missing
Any connections are loose
You are in any doubts
Repair the plug or mains lead if it is damaged
Always turn off and unplug your electric blanket before you go to sleep
3.7 Living room open fires
Place a proper fitting spark guard and fire guard in front of the open fire.
Don’t put anything on the fire guard.
Don’t leave anything that can burn like papers, magazines or clothes near a fire.
Don’t use an open fire to dry clothes; this is a significant fire risk.
Chip pans are a fire risk – consider using alternative cooking methods.
3.8 Portable heaters
Use portable heaters with extreme care.
Place heaters away from furniture, curtains, and items that can be burn.
Don’t move heaters while in operation.
Do not use portable heaters to dry clothes.
Do Not Cover portable heaters.
Consider using the CO2 alarm in the room where a portable heater is used.
3.9 Electrical items –
use carefully and store them properly when you are not using them.
Don’t overload sockets, this is a major fire risk.
Don’t run electric cables across cookers.
Switch off and plug out electrical items when you are not using them.
If any electrical cables or plugs are damaged, worn or frayed, do not use the device, if you still want to use it call a qualified technician.
Carry out a “last thing at night” routine check
Before you go to bed at night:
Check your ways/exits are clear before you go to sleep.
If your front and back room doors need keys to open, ensure the keys are kept in the keyhole or a place known to everyone in the household and close to the doors.
Make sure fires are well down and place spark guards in front of open fires.
Do not leave your television, radio or music system on standby. Only appliances designed for 24-hour use should be left plugged in at night time e.g. freezers, fridges, etc.
Plug out the mobile phone’s charger when your cell phone charged or when you out of the house or when you go to bed.
Switch off and plug out electric blanket before you go to sleep
Empty ashtrays correctly and put out candles before you go to sleep.
Do you feel that some of the above-mentioned points are out of your comfort zone? Feel free to contact us on 061 609865 and one of our fire safety specialists will be able to address your needs. Always be safe.