Obviously Fire Safety in the Home is really important – but especially when you have children to think about. I was completely unaware that the local Fire Department offer FREE home safety checks – which includes providing and fitting smoke alarms if you haven’t got them. Honestly there’s no catch at all. We already have hard-wired smoke alarms but as it was a free service we thought it couldn’t hurt for them to come out and give us some advice on our home. Plus they really kindly let the children have a good look around their fire engine.
Fire Safety in the Home Facts
- Did you know that you are 4 times more likely to die in a fire if you do not have working smoke alarms? We have one outside the kitchen and one at the top of the stairs. The one by the kitchen is designed differently so it doesn’t go off every time the kitchen gets hot (I am not exactly sure what as my electrician did it all for us).
- Don’t take the battery out of your smoke alarm – 21 people die each year because it was missing from their smoke alarm at the time of a fire.
- Most fires start in the kitchen – with around half caused by cooking accidents. We were advised to keep the kitchen door shut – especially if you go out or when you go to bed.
- Faulty electrics (appliances, wiring and overloaded sockets) are the cause of around SIX THOUSAND fires in the home every year.
- Always watch a burning candle – they cause three fires a day (I am actually surprised it isn’t more!)
- Another reason to consider giving up smoking is that EVERY FIVE DAYS someone dies from a fire caused by cigarettes!
Fire Safety in the Home Things to Consider
- Consider having a fire blanket and fire extinguisher in your home kept in the kitchen.
- Avoid leaving children in the kitchen when there’s something cooking on the hob, and also keeping saucepan handles and matches out of their way.
- Avoid leaving pans on full heat when you leave the kitchen.
- Turn saucepan handles away from the edge so that they do not get knocked off.
- Keep loose clothing, tea towels and cloths away from the hob.
- Make sure the cooker is turned off after use.
- Keep electrics away from water.
- Keep your toaster clean and away from flammable materials such as curtains and kitchen roll.
- Clean your cooker – the build-up of fat and grease on an oven, hob or grill can ignite a fire.
- Try to keep electrics to one plug per socket.
- Unplug appliances when you are not using them, especially when you go to bed.
- Secure portable heaters up against a wall to stop them falling over.
- Never smoke in bed and make sure you put cigarettes out fully in a proper ashtray.
Plan a Fire Safety Escape
A fire at night can make a family even more vulnerable so it is a good idea to plan an escape so that everyone knows what to do. We were told that this was even more important for our family because we have children sleeping on different levels of the house. The normal route in and out of the home is the best option and everyone should know where there are keys for the windows and doors. Sleeping with your mobile phone close at hand can also be invaluable in the case of a fire. You should ensure that the exits are kept clear and have a plan for a second route in case it is blocked. The fire escape route should be practised and reviewed (especially if the home layout is altered). We were told to think about who will go to which child. We were also reassured that big fires don’t happen very often (we have had 2 in our local area in as many weeks though!) and that with our working smoke detectors and our composite front door we should be fine.
Tips in the Event of a Fire
- If there is smoke keep low – the air is clearer.
- Check if a door is warm before opening – if it is there’s fire on the other side so it shouldn’t be opened.
- Call 999 as soon as you’re clear of the building
- If it impossible to get out then get everyone into one room – with a window and phone.
- Put bedding around the bottom of the door to block out smoke. Open a window and call “HELP FIRE”
- Climb through a window if you are low enough – using bedding to help you.
- If you need to break the window use a towel or blanket to make the jagged edges safer to get over.
- If your clothes catch on fire – stop, drop and roll (smothering the flames with a coat or blanket).
For further Fire Safety Information contact your local fire and rescue service (number in the phone book NOT 999) or visit www.facebook.com/firekills
Thank you to Gloucestershire Fire & Rescue Service.
Gloucestershire residents can claim your FREE safety check by calling freephone 0800 1804140 or visit www.glosfire.gov.uk
This information is Copyright Crown and has been used only for educational purposes.