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Protect Your Home From Fire


Every year over 55,000 fires in the home kill 700 people and injure another 10,000. The most common causes of these fires are chip pans, or smokers materials setting fire to upholstery, such as chairs and sofas. Even if you don't smoke or use a chip pan you could still be at risk. Here are a few prevention reminders which only take a few minutes to read, but could help to save the lives of you and your family.


Electrical Appliances

Some electrical appliances have been designed to be left on all the time - for example most videos. If you are not sure about whether you have appliances which can be left on, check with the manufacturer or the shop where you bought them. All other electrical appliances should be switched off and unplugged when you are not using them. Never leave them on overnight. Never remove a plug by pulling the flex. Always use the plug. Remember: one socket, one plug. You could overheat a socket and start a fire by putting several adaptors into one socket. Always make sure your plugs and adaptors have the right fuse for the appliance you are using. In doubt check with an approved electrician. When buying new equipment look out for the BEAB mark of safety. This means that it has been tested and approved by the British Electrotechnical Approval Board. Learn the wiring colours and make sure you follow them when fitting a plug. Always use the correct fuse for the equipment you are using and follow the manufacturers instructions.





A lit cigarette or pipe can be deadly. Never leave a lit cigarette or pipe unattended. If you have left a cigarette or pipe burning on the brim of an ashtray, they may fall onto an armchair, or the carpet, particularly if the ashtray is already full. The armchair or carpet will soon catch fire and start to give off dense smoke and fumes making it difficult for you and your family to escape. Falling asleep with a lit pipe or cigarette can also be fatal, especially in bed where the bed linen will quickly catch fire. The smoke and fumes will not wake you. Make sure you stub out the cigarette before going to bed and never smoke in a chair if you think you will doze off in it.




Chip Pans

Chip pans are one of the most common causes of fire in the home.


Never fill a pan more than one-third full of fat or oil.
Never leave the pan unattended when the heat is switched on.
If the pan does catch fire do not move it and never throw water on it.
Turn off the heat if it is safe to do so,
Cover the pan with a damp cloth or a damp tea towel and leave it to cool for at least 30 minutes.




Open Fires

Always put a fireguard round an open fire. You should never rest clothes to dry or put newspapers on the guard as they will catch fire or get too hot to handle and could cause burns.





Look out for warning signs of dangerous wiring: 

Hot plugs and sockets
Fuses that blow for no obvious reason
Lights flickering
Brown scorch marks on sockets and plugs
Always make sure that saucepans are in a safe position on the cooker. Handles should not stick over the edge where they can be knocked over, or left within the reach of children. Make sure the handles are not over a hot ring or burner. Flexes from electrical equipment such as kettles and toasters should be kept well away from the cooker and tea towels should never be dried over the cooker. Never leave a saucepan unattended with the heat turned on and be especially careful when using chips pans with oil or fat. Make sure that ovens are not left on after use.





Children, because of their natural curiosity, can be at great risk from fire. You should never leave children alone in a room where there are portable heaters, cookers or an open fire. Keep matches and lighters well out of their reach and never leave children alone in the house.




Bedtime Routine

Many fires in the home start at night. Make sure you have a bedtime fire safety routine to help keep your home and family safe. Here are a few simple things which you should do every night.

Unplug all electrical appliances not designed to stay on.
Make sure no cigarettes are still burning.
Before emptying ashtrays make sure the contents are cold.
Put a guard around open fires.
Switch off portable heaters.
Close of the doors of all unoccupied rooms.
Electric blankets

Many fires and deaths are due to blankets being left accidentally switched on. As with all electrical equipment, it is important that you follow the manufacturers instructions. Check the instructions to see if you should switch off your blankets when you get into bed. Underblankets should always be tied to the bed and be switched off before you get into bed. All electric blankets should be kept dry and flat. Once your electric blanket is out of guarantee, have it serviced once a year or in accordance with the manufacturers instructions. The shop where you bought it can tell you about servicing arrangements. When buying an electric blanket make sure it conforms to the British Standard and carries the kitemark. This will be shown on the label.

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Make sure you don't sit too close to the heater to keep warm. You could easily set light to your clothes or your chair, particularly if you fall asleep. Heaters should always stand in a safe place where they can't be knocked over and where they can't be tripped over. They should be kept well away from furniture and soft furnishings, such as curtains and cushions. Do not position heaters where objects may fall onto them. Portable heaters should never be placed close to beds or used to dry clothes. As with open fires, make sure that all heaters are correctly guarded. If you have young children at home, make sure you use an all-enclosed guard with your heater as well.



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