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Fire safety in houses

Here's just some of the things you should do:

  • Test your smoke alarms every week. Remember to change the batteries regularly
  • Make a fire action plan so everyone in your home knows how to get out in a fire. We can help advise on this or put you in touch with a friends in the fire service
  • Keep exits free from clutter and know where to put your hands on window and door keys quickly
  • Take extra care in the kitchen – accidents while cooking account for more than half of all home fires. Never leave young children on their own in your kitchen.
  • Be careful if you are cooking with hot oil. If you often deep fry food, please buy a deep-fat fryer which is controlled by a thermostat.
  • Never leave lit candles in unoccupied rooms or where children are alone. Make sure candles are in secure holders, on a flat surface that doesn’t burn and away from things that could burn.
  • If you smoke cigarettes, always check you’ve stubbed them out properly and never ever smoke in bed.
  • Close doors at night. If the worse happens and there is a fire, it might be contained in one room long enough for you to get out.
  • Don’t overload electrical sockets. One plug for one socket only please.
  • Keep matches and lighters out of the reach of children.
  • Take extra care in staying safe if you are really tired or you’ve been drinking alcohol.
  • Don’t leave your TV or other electrical items on standby – not only does this cost you, it could also result in a fire.
  • Unplug all electrical items if you go away for a few days.
  • Don’t block access for emergency vehicles with parked cars.

If the worst happens and there is a fire you need to take this advice immediately.

For more advice on fire safety, take a look below:

  • Smoke alarms

    Smoke alarms save lives. Your home will be fitted with modern smoke alarms and if you live in a block of flats, we will carry out regular checks of communal areas, emergency lighting and alarms.

    Here's what you can do:
    • Make sure you test your smoke alarms once a week
    • Keep them clean and clear of dust
    • Replace batteries regularly

  • Bedtime checks

    Before going to bed each night, you should always make checks to ensure your home is safe.

    Here's the bedtime checklist you should follow:
    • Close doors to stop a fire from spreading
    • Turn off and unplug electrical appliances, unless they’re designed to be left on – such as your freezer
    • Check your cooker is turned off
    • Don’t use household appliances, such as washing machines whilst you are sleeping
    • Turn heaters off and with open fires, ensure all embers are fully extinguished and a fire guard is put in place
    • Put candles and cigarettes out properly
    • Make sure exits are kept clear
    • Keep door and window keys where everyone can find them

  • Electrical fires

    If there is an electrical fire, pull the plug out, or switch off the power at the fuse box – if it’s safe to do so. Sometimes this can stop the fire immediately. Never use water on an electrical fire, and don’t take any risks with your safety.

    Plugs and sockets:
    • Hot plugs or sockets, scorch marks, fuses that often blow, or flickering lights. They are all are signs of loose wiring or other electrical problems
    • Badly wired plugs. Any coloured wires sticking out could come loose and debris could also get into the plug
    • Overloaded sockets. Plugging too many electrical appliances into one socket can lead to overheating
    You should
    • Make sure you can’t see any coloured wires between the plug and the power lead, so change the plug properly
    • Make sure the wires are held firmly in place inside the plug
    • Use sockets safely. It’s better to use a bar adaptor (multi board) on a lead, than a block adaptor
    • Only use one adaptor per socket. Don’t plug one adaptor into another and try to keep to one plug per socket
    • Never get electrical appliances wet. This includes plugs and sockets, so don’t put a vase of flowers on top of the TV, for example
    • Don’t leave them on at night unless they are designed to be left on, like freezers
    • You shouldn’t put anything in the microwave that is made of metal, or has a metallic finish or parts

    • When changing a fuse, check the manual or look for a sticker on the appliance to find out its wattage and then use the correct fuse
    • Extension leads and adaptors have a limit on how many amps they can take, so be careful not to overload them, to reduce the risk of fire

  • Cooking

     It’s important not to get distracted when cooking. It only takes a moment for a hot pan or grill tray to catch fire.

    How to make sure you’re safe:
    • Do not leave pans unattended. Stand by your pan. Take them off the heat if you have to leave the room
    • Never leave a child unattended when cooking
    • When you have finished cooking, ensure your oven is turned off
    • The safest way to deep fry is to use a thermostat controlled electric deep fat fryer. The thermostat stops it from overheating
    • Do not cook when tired or if you have had alcohol. Have a takeaway or cold snack instead

    Top tips:
    • Keep the oven, hob and grill clean. A build up of fat and grease can easily catch fire
    • Never use water on, a hot oil or chip pan fire
    • Check toasters are clean and placed away from curtains and kitchen roll
    • Keep your microwave clean and do not put metal in it
    • Keep electrical leads, tea towels and clothes away from the cooker
    • Turn off electrical appliances when they are not in use

  • Celebrating safely

    It’s always advised that you attend an organised event for firework displays, but if you decide to use them at home:
    • Make sure they’re from an approved seller and that they are marked with the British Standard Kite mark for fireworks BS 7114
    • Follow the instructions carefully and never go back to a lit firework - even if it has not gone off as it could still explode
    • Keep fireworks in a closed box until you use them. Don’t put them in your pocket
    • Have some buckets of water nearby to use in case of emergency 
    It’s advised that people refrain from using lanterns at any celebratory events, but if you are going to use them:
    • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully
    • Avoid launching lanterns when under the influence of alcohol
    • Keep the launch area clear of anything that could easily catch fire and combustible materials
    • Have water close by, in case the lantern catches fire
    • Avoid using damaged lanterns, be aware that writing messages on the paper can cause damage

    Decorative lights
    • Choose energy saving LEDs, which release less heat and cost less to use
    • Check your fairy lights are in good working order and replace any bulbs that have blown. Always unplug your lights when you leave the house or when you sleep
    • Don’t let bulbs touch anything that can burn easily, such as paper or fabrics
    • If hanging lights outside, only use lights that are specifically designed for outdoor use and connect them using an RCD protected socket

    • Keep candles away from anything that could catch fire such as Christmas trees, curtains, cards, ribbons or decorations
    • Never leave a burning candle unattended and put them out completely before you leave the room or before you go to sleep. Take extra care to keep candles out of reach of small children or pets
    • Tea lights should be placed in a suitable holder as they can melt through plastic materials