With more people at home during the day, fires in the home caused by cooking, smoking, electrical items, candles and other common factors could become more prevalent. Following basic fire safety rules can help to keep you and your family safe while at home.
It's always better to prevent a fire from happening, but fitting alarms will give an early warning in the event of a fire and allow you vital time to escape. You’re around eight times more likely to die from a fire if you don’t have a working smoke alarm in your home. Check that you have smoke alarms fitted in hallways and (ideally) in every bedroom and living room. It’s important to test your alarms monthly as the batteries or the alarm itself may need to be changed.
2. Escape Routes
Due to the lockdown, you might have a larger amount of groceries and household goods stored in your home. These may be blocking your escape, so think about how you would leave your home if there was a fire. Consider your route in the middle of the night, and how it might be different during the day if you and your family are in different parts of your home. Clear your escape routes of any obstacles, have an escape plan and make sure that everybody in your household knows it.
3. Candles, incense and naked flames
As you spend more time at home, you might want to make it cosier with candles and incense, but these can pose a fire risk. Place any candles, incense and oil burners on a stable surface and make sure they’re held firmly in heat-resistant holders. Keep them out of the reach of children and pets, and away from flammable items such as curtains, furnishings or clothes. Never leave candles burning while you sleep and check that you put them out completely before you head to bed.
4. Smoking and vaping
People who are confined within their homes may find themselves smoking more often. Be careful when disposing of cigarettes - never empty your ashtrays into a waste bin which could catch fire and don’t throw cigarette butts off balconies as these could blow onto other balconies and start fires. It’s also important to make sure that matches, lighters and e-liquids are kept out of the reach of children.
5. Bedtime checks
Many fires happen at night, when most people are sleeping. You can further reduce the risk in your house by carrying out some simple checks before you go to bed. Check that all electrical items, including your washing machine, tumble dryer and dishwasher, are turned off before you go to bed, unless they're designed to be left on. Close all the doors in your home before you to go bed as your doors can act as an initial barrier to flames and smoke.
With more people working from home, and children at home using tablets and games consoles for longer, you might struggle to find a spare plug socket. Don’t be tempted to overload your plug sockets as this may cause an electrical fire. As always, check that your electrics are clean and in good working order, and report any loose or dangerous wiring around your home; signs of wiring problems include scorch marks, flickering lights, hot plugs and sockets, fuses that blow or circuit-breakers that trip for no obvious reason.
With restaurants and bars closed, you may find that you’re doing more cooking, possibly with more distractions to deal with if you have children at home. If you’re called away from cooking, make sure you turn the hob and grill off. Clean your oven, cooker hood and grill of fat and grease and clear any crumbs from your toaster as these can cause a build-up and catch fire.