Fire and Safety information and advice to help keep you safe at home
Fire is one of the most common causes of deaths and property damage in the world. Many of these fires are often caused out of human error and negligence, by those who may have little knowledge of fire and safety procedures.
However, they’re easy to avoid if proper planning and preparation of the home is put into place, with all family members made aware that it is their combined duty to know, and understand, the risks and safety precautions. Apart from visiting sites such as this one, there are also many other different ways that you can educate yourself with regards to fire safety, ranging from Fire Warden Training (although this would only really be necessary in extreme cases), to sitting around as a family and watching a fire safety DVD.
Fire Escape Routes
Every home is different. That is why when it comes to your safety in the home you must always consider the safest and fastest routes out of the building.
Draw a Map
One of the best ways to do this is to draw a map of your home, outlining all of the windows and doors in each of the rooms. Pay close attention to the bedrooms (as most fires are ignited at night), the kitchen and the living room.
Plan the route with all of the family members huddled around the dinner table, if you have children, turn this into a fun game, as the last thing you need besides being woken up in the middle of the night by a fire, is one of your kids having nightmares, so turn this into a fun activity for them.
When going through the routine with your family remember that smoke rises, so be sure to be crawling when you make your escape, and also emphasize that smoke can be just as deadly as fire! And, don’t forget to designate an area outside of the house where the whole family can meet.
Top Tip: In case clothing that you’re wearing catches a blaze, teach your children and other family members the Stop, Drop and Roll routine.
Instinctively we all panic and run, DON’T! This will just cause more oxygen to fuel the fire: STOP – don’t run! DROP – lie down on the ground. ROLL – roll your body round and round to smother the flames.
The Speed at Which Fire Can Spread
Trap the Heat
If a fire does occur during the night, one of the best ways to be prepared is to keep all of the room doors closed within your house. That way, all of the heat and toxic smoke can be centralised into the blazing room, giving you and your family the best chances to escape.
Install Smoke Detectors
Fire safety – smoke detector
Depending on the size of your home, make sure you have at least 3 smoke detectors installed.
1. In the kitchen area or at least outside of it
2. In the hallway by the entrance or staircase
3. On the landing or hallway that has access to the bedrooms
Test the alarm at least once a month and change the batteries once every year, don’t wait for it to start its near drained singular beep! As, depending on the brand you use, this could also mean that the smoke alarm no longer works.
Top Tip: It’s also a good idea to get a carbon monoxide alarm fitted as well; these are usually best placed in close proximity to your boiler.
Don’t Smoke In Bed – Ever!
Perhaps the largest cause of fires in homes is when people fall asleep smoking. In the 1970’s this accounted for 70% of house fires, so avoid smoking in bed or late at night in front of the TV.
Top Tip: Quit.
Keep an Extra Eye on Your Children When Cooking
They say that teachers have eyes in the back of their heads, well so must you, especially when cooking.
You should always be vigilant of your cooking area, watching the children and the cooking itself. Chip pan fires are mostly a thing of the past, but if you happen to cook with deep fat fryers, remain vigilant at all times, and consider investing in a fire blanket or suitable Fire Extinguisher.
Hide Your Matches & Your Lighters
Always keep your lighters and matches out of your children’s reach. Locking them in draws or storing them in high cupboards is the best way to prevent them from starting bonfire night early!
Call The Emergency Services
When reporting a house fire in the UK, the operator on the other end of the phone is highly trained. Listen to their advice, and try to answer all of their questions as clearly as possible. Normally with house fires the Ambulance Service will also be alerted, if you happen to have any injured people, also make the operator is aware of this.
Stay Away From Your Home
Even if the fire is no longer blazing, stay out of your home until an official fire fighter deems it possible to go back inside. DON’T go back in for valuables, pets, or personal belongings. Houses that have been a blaze will be structurally weakened by the fire and could collapse at any given moment.
Out of Date or Exposed Electrics
Keep a close eye on your wiring throughout the house. Old appliances that have broken plugs or exposed wires are dangerous and must be replaced. Fire prevention takes a little effort, but for the sake of your family and your home, with these small preventions, big life threatening fires can be kept well and truly at bay, saving both you and your family.
If in doubt, it is always better to contact either, your local fire and rescue service, or a fire safety company for advice, as most will be more than happy to oblige.