Read the instructions
I gave my next door neighbours a fire blanket and a 0.6kg powder extinguisher as a present. At the same time I gave my wife a 0.6kg powder extinguisher to go with the fire blanket she already had.

In my experience these two fire safety products offer the best value safeguard for fires in the home. The fire blanket can be used to smother small fires and particularly cooking oil and fat fires the most common being chip pan fires. Dry powder fire extinguishers are arguably the most versatile of all the extinguisher types. They are effective on solids like paper, fabrics and wood, work effectively on hydrocarbon based fires like engine fuels and gases and can also be used on electrical fires. The 0.65kg is also small enough to carry in the car.
For a good deal less than £20 the pair it’s a good investment – and I think, a thoughtful and affordable present.

In a later conversation with my neighbours it was clear that reading the instructions was important t
o them and they were clear on how to use the equipment in the event of a fire. The ironic thing is that when I then checked whether my wife had read the instructions on her fire extinguisher and fire blanket she said no!! In fact when I asked where the extinguisher was I was told it was in the cupboard still in its cellophane wrapping!

Needless to say I took it out of its wrapping and made sure that my wife and son knew how to use it.

The lesson from this experience is that it may be natural for some of us to read instructions carefully and not so natural for others. When it comes to fire safety I don’t believe there is any middle ground. If you invest in fire precautions of any type it is imperative that you and anyone likely to be called upon to use them know what to do in the event of a fire.