5 Safety tips on how to avoid Fire Hazards in the home

1. Your Kitchen

Kitchen fires are by far the most common cause of fire in the home. With water, electricity, fats, gas, wood and any number of chemicals from cleaning fluids to solvents to be found in any kitchen you need added safety precautions to avoid a serious fire.

Top tips
Don’t overheat or overfill chip pans or better still buy a deep fat fryer with a thermostat.  Don’t leave oily or chemical stained rags in a heap under the sink. The combinations of chemicals can cause self combustion. Wash or throw them in the outside rubbish bin. Invest in a Fire blanket for smothering small fires on hobs and grill pans. Whatever you do don’t throw water at a cooking fire.

2. Smoking – anywhere

Next on the list is the cigarette. Such fires occur every day and particularly it seems at night when you are liable to nod off on the settee or worse in bed clutching a half smoked cigarette. Modern upholstery should be fire safe but clothing and bedding is not.

Top tips
Don’t smoke indoors if at all possible. If not possible use proper glass or ceramic ash trays not plastic cups or old Indian takeaway trays – they burn!!  Look out for the self extinguishing cigarette which is heading our way any time soon courtesy of European legislation. Install at least one smoke alarm preferably in a hall or landing to avoid false alarms.

3. Matches

Kids are inquisitive so don’t leave temptation lying around the house. Carelessly discarding matches and ash trays into waste bins causes umpteen fires every year.

Top Tips
Only use safety matches.
Educate the kids to the dangers with some online videos of house fires and the devastation caused

4. Electrical Appliances

Just because electricity is invisible we tend to ignore its potential to cause a fire. In today’s age it drives virtually everything in the home.  Plugging your TV, DVD, Bluray, video and half a dozen 20 Watt speakers into one socket is asking for trouble. So is hanging on to Gran’s trusty old iron or the funky 60’s vintage cooker. Insulation breaks down over time and a serious fire could be the result.

Top Tips
Avoid overloading sockets and avoid using extension blocks. Check the total Amperage rating on appliances connected to extension blocks – above 13amp you need an extra wall socket – not a bigger extension block!!  Bundle trailing electrical cables with ties and don’t run them under carpets in high footfall areas

5.Electrical Wiring Circuits

Nothing lasts forever and wiring in older houses may be past its shelf life and inadequate for modern appliances. A surprising number of fires are caused by old wiring breaking down. Old wiring is also unlikely to conform to current IEEE and building safety regulations particularly in Kitchens and Bathrooms.

Top Tips
Have a qualified electrician check the wiring circuits for deterioration and for compliance with current safety regulations. If you are a technophobe with a house full of electronic gadgetry invest in a small Carbon Monoxide Fire extinguisher. They will put out an electrical fire without damaging or contaminating adjacent equipment or circuitry.