Each year around 200 people die in house fires in the UK. Many more have their lives ruined through injury or the destruction of their home and all they own. Fire is not a risk to be taken lightly, so it is important to ensure you do all you can to protect your home.
This year marks the 350th anniversary of the Great Fire of London – history has it that the initial, small blaze started at a bakery in Pudding Lane but it lasted for four days and eventually destroyed over 436 acres of the capital. Even small fires can quickly take hold and get out of control.
Top 7 tips to make sure your home is fire safe…
1. Fit smoke alarms – and maintain them
You are more than four times more likely to die in a house fire if there is no working smoke alarm. These low-cost devices are a lifesaver; fit at least one per floor. Check they work each week, change the batteries every year and replace the alarm once a decade.
2. Be careful with cigarettes
Cigarettes are the top cause of fatal house fires. Use an ashtray and ensure ash is cold before putting it in the bin. Do not smoke when you are tired, or in bed; you can easily drift off and your sofa or bed can catch alight in seconds. Tell the truth about smoking habits on your insurance form, or you could find that cover is refused for fire damage caused by this.
3. Watch out in the kitchen
Roughly 60% of accidental fires start in the kitchen. It’s all too easy to overlook the risks when you use the room each day. Only cook when you are alert, rather than drunk, sleepy or on medication. Be careful not to lean over gas hobs and keep leads and tea towels away. Clean appliances regularly and avoid chip pans – electronic fryers are much safer.
4. Check electrical safety
Have your electrical system and appliances checked regularly to ensure the right circuit breakers and other safety mechanisms are in place. Do not overload plug sockets and use appliances safely – for example, keep electric heaters away from fabric and soft furnishings.
5. Plan an escape route
If a fire woke you in the night, could you get out of the house safely? For example, obstacles in your hallway may be hazardous if your home is filled with smoke, or exits are blocked because windows are nailed shut.
Create a family escape plan and make sure everyone knows the routes to take.
6. Identify fire risk
Your unique home will come with unique risk factors. This might include a fireplace or wood burning stove, candles or a dodgy boiler. Identify these risks and do what you can to reduce them, such as installing fireguards, never leaving candles unattended and repairing or replacing faulty appliances.
7. Educate your children about fire safety
Most children have a healthy fascination with fire, but they fail to understand the risk it poses to them. Keep matches, lighters and flammable liquids away from children and teach them about fire safety. For example, young people should learn that if they see a fire, they should close the door and alert an adult or call the fire brigade.
The destruction caused by home fires is made even worse when the loss is not covered by insurance. Do you have the right home buildings and contents insurance in place? Call Computerquote to protect yourself today on 0800 389 9949 or 023 9224 7870.