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Fire Safety in the Home

Domestic Fire Safety

There are many deaths and injuries caused by fire in the home. Modern materials like plastics make fire much more dangerous than it was 50 years ago. Fires start more easily, and can grow to infernos in 2 to 3 minutes. This means that people need protection against fire in their homes, especially the old, young, disabled or vulnerable.

The government has encouraged the installation of smoke alarms for many years, and since 1991, it has been mandatory to fit them in all new dwellings in the UK under Building Regulations.

Did you know…?

  • You’re twice as likely to die in a fire if you don’t have a smoke alarm that works.
  • 90 people die each year because the battery in their smoke alarm was flat or missing.
  • Over half of home fires are caused by cooling accidents.
  • More than five fires a day are started by candles.
  • Every three days someone dies from a fire caused by a cigarette.
  • Faulty electrics (appliances, wiring and overloaded sockets) cause around 7,000 house fires across the country every year.

How to Reduce the Risk

Portable heaters.

  • Try to secure heaters up against a wall to stop them falling over.
  • Keep them clear from curtains and furniture and never use them for drying clothes.


  • Always ensure that your furniture has the fire-resistant permanent label.

In the Kitchen

  • Avoid leaving children in the kitchen alone when cooking on the hob. Keep matches and sauce pan handle out of their reach to keep them safe.
  • Take extra care if you need to leave the kitchen whilst cooking, take pans off the heat or turn them down to avoid risk.
  • Make sure saucepan handles don’t stick out – so they don’t get knocked off the stove.
  • Take care if you’re wearing loose clothing – they can easily catch fire.
  • Keep tea towels and cloths away from the cooker and hob.
  • Spark devices are safer than matches or lighters to light gas cookers, because they don’t have a naked flame.
  • Double check the cooker is off when you’ve finished cooking.

What to so if your escape is blocked.

  • If you can’t get out, get everyone into one room, ideally with a window and phone.
  • Put bedding around the bottom of the door to block out the smoke, then open the window and call “HELP FIRE”.
  • If you’re on the ground or first floor, you may be able to escape through a window.
  • Use bedding to cushion you fall and lower yourself down carefully. Don’t jump.
  • If you can’t open the window break the glass in the bottom corner. Make jagged edges safe with a towel or blanket.


  • Make sure candles are secured in a proper holder and away from materials that may catch fire – like curtains.
  • Put candles out when you leave the room, and make sure they’re put out completely at night.
  • Use a snuffer or a spoon to put out candles. It’s safer than blowing then out when sparks can fly.
  • Children shouldn’t be left alone with lit candles.


How to avoid electrical fires.

  • Always check that you use the right fuse to prevent overheating.
  • Make sure an electrical appliance has a British or European safety mark when you buy it.
  • Certain appliances, such as washing machines, should have a single plug to themselves, as they are high powered.
  • Try and keep to one plug per socket.


  • Stub cigarettes out properly and dispose of them carefully. Put them out. Right out!
  • Never smoke in bed.
  • Use a proper ashtray – never a wastepaper basket.
  • Make sure your ashtray can’t tip over and is made of a material that won’t burn.
  • Don’t leave a lit cigarette, cigar or pipe lying around. They can easily fall over and start a fire.
  • Take extra care if you smoke when you’re tired, taking prescription drugs, or if you’ve been drinking. You might fall asleep and set your bed or sofa on fire.
  • Keep matches and lighters out of children’s reach.
  • Consider buying child resistant lighters and match boxes.

Fire Blankets.

  • A fire blanket is the simplest and safest way to extinguish a cooking-oil fire. Turn off the heat source, hold the blanket so that your hands are protected behind it, and then drape it over the pan. Flames will be smothered immediately, but you mustn’t remove the blanket for at least 30 minutes to allow the heat to decrease. Never pick up a blazing pan and run outside with it; flames blowing back could make you drop the pan and you could get burned.
  • Must modern fire blankets are made of woven glass; some are coated to ensure oils and fats can’t penetrate, if someone’s clothes are on fire, wrap a fire blanket around them to smother the flames.

Fire ladder

  • For peace of mind, consider keeping compact escape ladders in your upstairs bedrooms. These can be stored in a roll that fits under the average bed; escape ladders are lightweight but strong, flame-resistant, and easy to use.

Smoke alarms.

  • Fumes produced by smouldering fire can dill you without you even waking up. This is where smoke alarms offer vital protection, giving early warning of trouble. They are very reasonably priced, but remember to check that your device carries the British Standard kite mark.
  • The more alarms you have around your home, the safer you will be. If you live on one level, fit a smoke alarm in the hallway between the living and sleeping areas, ideally on the ceiling, at least 300mm away from a wall or light fitting. On a wall the alarm must be 150mm-300mm below the ceiling. It is pointless installing an alarm in a kitchen or bathroom, as steam will set it off. If your house has more than one storey, fit one alarm at the bottom of the staircase and an alarm on each landing. There are two types of smoke alarm.

Ionisation alarm.

  • An ionisation alarm is very sensitive to particles of smoke from a fast raging fire.

Photoelectric alarm.

  • Photoelectric alarms are good for detecting the large quantities of smoke given off by smouldering fires.

Most of the smoke alarms are battery powered, so it’s important to check the batteries regularly. Better still; choose an alarm with a 10 year lithium battery. You can also buy mains-powered smoke alarms that are wired permanently to the electricity supply. When installing an alarm always read the instructions thoroughly.

Fire Plan.

It is important that every household has a fire plan. You should know how to get everyone out of the house in case of fire, taking into account various scenarios where a fire could prevent escape by the usual means.

Involve the whole family in this exercise, practice it, and ensure everyone knows exactly what to do. Remember, most people who die in fires are killed by poisonous gasses such as carbon monoxide, which is produced in large quantities in most fires, so ensure all the family are educated to close doors at night.

Ensure you have a telephone in your bedroom. If you are trapped by a fire, you need help quickly.


Here at Reform Fire and Safety we are able to supply a wide range of equipment to make you feel safe in your own home such as Extinguishers, Fire Blankets, Escape Ladders and Cctv.

What to do if there’s a fire. 

  • Make sure everyone in your home knows about the fire. Shout and get everyone together. Don’t investigate the fire, and don’t go looking for valuables and pets.
  • Get everyone out by using escape routs. Stay together if you can. Shut doors as you go out; only opening the doors you need to. Before you open a door check it with the back of your hand. If it’s warm, don’t open it – the fire is the other side.
  • Crawl on the floor if there’s smile – the air is cleaner near the floor so if there’s smile put your nose as low as possible. Smoke is poisonous and can kill you.
  • Call 999 once you’ve escaped, using a mobile, a neighbour’s phone or a phone box. Speak slowly and clearly and try to give all the information you are asked for.
  • If there’s someone still inside, wait for the fire fighters to arrive. You can tell them about the person and they will be able to find them quicker than you can.
  • Find somewhere safe to wait. When fire fighters arrive, give them as much information as possible about the fire and the building.

Contact us on 08000 14 16 18 or click here for a quote.


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