Fire prevention is something that every homeowner should take seriously. Many people make the mistake of thinking that a couple of smoke detectors and a fire blanket in the kitchen is all they need to ensure that their home is safe, and that kind of thinking can all too often lead to tragedy. There are lots of simple precautions that can greatly reduce the risk of a fire taking hold in your home.
- If you have a log burning fire or a coke fire in your home, make sure that you use a good fireguard, and keep combustible materials well out of the way of the fire.
- In the kitchen, keep drapes, curtains, and other combustible materials away from heat sources.
- If someone or something calls for your attention while you’re doing the ironing, turn the iron off until you get back.
- Don’t smoke inside the house – take an astray out into the porch or the garden where there are fewer items that are likely to catch fire.
- Avoid using kerosene heaters whenever possible.
- Ask your carpet fitters if your carpets are fire retardant. If you have any reason to think that they aren’t, get new ones.
- Don’t overload plugs
- Use surge protectors whenever possible
- Use the correct size of fuse for each appliance
- If a power cord is damaged, replace it (or the appliance) immediately. Don’t try to repair it yourself.
- Use wire protectors if you’re running wires under a carpet during carpet fitting. Wires can easily be damaged by day to day room traffic.
- Don’t use high wattage lightbulbs unless you’re sure the fixture can support them
- Keep doorways clear in all major rooms in your home, just in case you need to evacuate at night.
- If you use candles, use a proper holder for them and keep them on a flat, clutter free surface at all times.
- If you store fuel or other combustible materials, keep them in their original containers, store only small amounts, and store them away from the house (e.g. in a locked shed or garage).
- During major holidays such as Halloween, bonfire night, and Christmas, take extra fire precautions – fireworks, bonfires, and poorly maintained fairy lights are all common causes of household fires.
Make sure that everyone in your home understands basic fire safety, and that you have an evacuation plan in place. Modern smoke detectors are good at detecting fires early, but they won’t put the fire out for you. It’s down to you to evacuate the house and call the fire brigade.
You may want to consider keeping a small fire extinguisher in each room. If you do this, choose the right fire extinguisher for each room (remember that water based fire extinguishers should not be used on electrical fires), and make sure that you only attempt to tackle a fire if it is small, and you will still be able to get out safely if your attempts to control it fail.