Ensuring the safety of your home has never been more critical. Among the crucial aspects of home safety are fire preparedness and prevention. From installing smoke alarms to practicing fire escape drills, there are many steps homeowners can take to improve their homes’ fire safety.

If you have children, you may be wary of scaring them by discussing it. And I do understand that, we naturally want to protect our kids in a bubble and keep them safe. But awareness can be done reassuringly and factual on the rarity. Fire safety education is life saving, simply knowing to block smoke coming under a door and staying low on the floor can give them a better chance of survival.

Regardless of your feelings on how early to have these difficult conversations, there is plenty of things you can do to prevent incidents and reduce the risk. Implementing the practical measures listed here can significantly reduce a home’s fire risk and ensure the safety of loved ones.

smoke alarm
The fire service recommend you test your smoke alarm at least once a month, and change the batteries yearly

Functional Smoke Alarms

There’s no smoke without fire, as they say. Functional smoke alarms are critical to fire safety. They alert you and your family to a house fire, giving you valuable time to escape safely. Have a smoke alarm at every level of the home, including appliance areas and near bedrooms.

Common causes of house fires are appliance mishaps where an appliance catches fire, chimney fires, and heater malfunctions. It is critical to inspect smoke alarms regularly to ensure they work correctly.

Creating a Fire Escape Plan

Having a fire escape plan can be life-saving. And it’s not just planning an escape route and ensuring any windows are locked without a key close by. You should have multiple options for instances when staircases are inaccessible. Ensure everyone knows how to safely exit the home and where to meet outside. Practice twice a year.

You should also be aware of any fire hazards like lit candles. Start by inspecting all electric appliances, chimney, and heaters to ensure they are in working order and at least three feet from flammable items. Never leave flammable liquids or space heaters unattended, and where possible use candle glasses and keep away from fabric.

If a fire breaks out, leave the house by the nearest exits and call 999 immediately. Do not stop to collect valuables, pets and belongings. You may think you have time, but backdrafts happen when oxygen is introduced the equation. If someone opens a door or window to escape, the situation can turn very fast.

If you smell gas you should also leave the house immediately without turning any switches off or on, which can create a spark.

Proper Use and Maintenance of Fire Extinguishers

There are different types of extinguishers to use in the event of a fire, based on the material burning. The wrong type can actually make a fire worse, so the right type for the home is crucial.

Water is only good for combustible materials such as wood, paper, or cloth. If added to a chip pan fire, it can cause escalation.

Powder extinguishers are multi purpose, but again no good for kitchens, despite often being suggested for homes as multipurpose. They are not recommended for use within small rooms due to risk of inhalation.

CO2 is only good for electrical fires and flammable liquids, so not good on materials or the kitchen.

De-ionised water mist fire extinguishers offer the widest range and is the best fit as cover electrical, material and flammable , but these are relatively new and seemingly not mentioned on any fire brigade website. I’d always insist you get expert information before purchase.

Keep a fire extinguisher on every level of the home, near high-risk areas, such as the kitchen, where heater and appliance-related fires are common. Inspect the fire extinguisher regularly to ensure it is easily accessible and in working condition.

Keep it at least three feet from potential fire hazards, such as grease in the kitchen, heating lamps, and the chimney.

kitchen fire
Half of all house fires start in the kitchen

Kitchen Safety Best Practices

Follow fire safety tips to keep your kitchen safe and prevent the risks of a house fire. If you have a gas oven, be aware of what is close to the naked flames. Obviously induction hobs are a lot safer. Fire blankets are popular if you often deep fire as cut out the oxygen.

Always keep flammable items like kerosene heaters and oil or grease at least three feet from any heater or appliance in the kitchen.

Regularly inspect the wiring of appliances to prevent potential fires from starting, don’t risk it if one starts doing funny things or tripping out fuses. Never leave a heater or appliance unattended, especially near a curtain or other flammable item.

Home Heating Safety

Always use caution when heating your home. Keep space heaters at least three feet from anything that can catch on fire, and never leave them unattended. Use a fireplace screen when using the fireplace to prevent flames from reaching flammable items.

Ensure the dryer vent is clear to prevent a potential fire. Remember to test carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms regularly.

solid hardwood door
Closed hardwood doors not only delay the spread of fire, but also limit the spread of smoke to give better visibility

Internal Doors

Internal doors play a critical role in home fire safety. They help contain the flames and prevent them from spreading. Smoke and flames spread rapidly, but a closed standard internal door can hold it back for between 10 and 30 minutes. Which can be the difference between a safe exit or not.

And the thicker the door, the longer you get. Ensuring fire-rated and adequately maintained internal doors to provide maximum protection is essential. If you have a loft conversion, safety regulations require fire doors in the entire house.

Key Takeaways

Many home fires start in the kitchen. It is essential to stay in the kitchen when cooking and never leave appliances unattended. Keep flammable items like grease, cords, and curtains at least three feet from any heat source, including the fireplace and space heaters.

Use a fireplace screen, and never leave a fire unattended. Inspect the chimney and heater regularly to prevent a house fire. Be cautious when using an appliance or heater that easily starts a fire.

Practice an escape plan with the family to prepare everyone in an emergency. Have a fire extinguisher and smoke alarm on every level of the home.

We have a brilliant fire service in the UK, but if you are lucky you’ll never find that out.

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