Health & Safety
FIre in the Home
Fire in the Home
A Fire in the home is something you hope is never going to happen. However there are around 30,000 fires in dwellings each year in England and around 300 deaths as a result. There are legal requirements governing fire safety arrangements for workplaces. For homes there are Buildings Regulations to ensure newer builds are up to standard, but older properties may not be quite so well protected from fires in the Home
So is a fire in my home just going to start on its own?
Not normally. The most common cause of fire in the home is due to cooking, over half of all fires in fact, and not really surprising as naked flames are usually involved. The same is true for candles and smoking, so human activity is as much to blame as faulty wiring or defective kitchen appliances. Washing machines and tumble driers in particular cause many fires each year. There are other potential hazards too that you can read about here; Fire Safety in the Home
Tell me more about electrical fires.
Electric portable heaters are a major cause of fires in the home along with overloading of sockets and the use of poor quality plugs, extension leads and plug-boards. It’s worth checking the condition of electrical cables, plugs etc to prevent fires and electric shocks. Try to buy equipment with genuine BS or CE markings to minimise risk of failure.
What if there is a fire in my home, what should I do?
GET OUT! Don’t be tempted to tackle a fire in your home, leave it to the professionals. If the fire starts during the day while you in the house, it should be fairly easy to spot it and escape………but…….
What if a fire breaks out in my home at night while I’m asleep?
Right. This is where things can get nasty because you won’t know you have a fire until it is possibly too late. Remember that fires produce loads of smoke that will create a very scary environment; you may not be able to see or breathe properly, so escape will be much more difficult. Also, any combustion releases carbon monoxide, which you can’t detect yourself, so you may asphyxiate without even waking up!
So what should I be doing?
Simple. Fit smoke alarms in your home and test them regularly – they are cheap and easy to fit. They are also very sensitive as you will know if you have them and have burnt the toast or been a little over-enthusiastic grilling the crispy bacon. They will activate well before the smoke becomes impenetrable and give you plenty of warning.
This should help wake you up so you can take action to escape.
What’s the best escape route?
Usually the best escape route from a fire in your home is your normal way in and out of the house, so keep it unobstructed; this will help if it’s dark or smoky. If you can’t get out that way, consider using windows but obviously think about how far you might have to drop. And make sure everyone in the house knows where the keys to the window locks are – modern double-glazed glass is not easy to break!
Have a practice, so that all the people in the house would know what to do.
And if I’m trapped and can’t get out?
Shout! Close doors and fill the gaps with bedding. Dial 999 and call the Fire Brigade, they will be with you in under 10 minutes in most areas, even quicker in larger towns and cities.