House fires are things that we think only happen to other people: tragic, terrifying, but unlikely to affect us. Government statistics show that, in 2018/19, fire services attended 182,825 fires and, tragically, 253 people died as the result of fire.
If you have a fire in your home, you may have just minutes to get out. The earlier you are alerted to fire, the greater your chance of survival. Here’s what you need to do to prepare for fire:
- Install a smoke and heat alarm. Smoke alarms save lives. Yes, they may be annoying if you burn the dinner, but one day, you may well owe your life to one. You should have an alarm for each floor of your home, with one outside each bedroom. Alarms should be placed on the ceiling, or on the wall. Don’t place the alarm within 6 inches of the point where the ceiling and wall meet.
- If you have a battery alarm, test it every 6 months and change the battery if necessary.
- Don’t overload your plug sockets. In an age where everything seems to require a power outlet, it is easy to add more and more extension cables. Don’t be tempted to plug too much in, and unplug anything when you are not using it (this will save your electric bills, too).
- A significant number of fires are caused by children; keep matches and lighters out of reach and make sure they are aware of the hazards.
- Don’t leave combustibles too close to heaters or fires. This includes stacking wood too close to a wood burner or open fire, and leaving clothes to dry on or near heaters and fires.
- Fire doors can confine a fire to one room or area of the house. Depending on the size and layout of your home, it may be a good idea to install fire doors – your local fire prevention officer or fire door installer will be able to advise on the need.
- Most fires start small. Keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen and any room that has an open flame.
- Have an idea of escape routes in the event that there is a fire. Remember, your planned route may be disrupted by fire so envisage fires in different locations from each room in the house and develop a clear plan of what you would do.
- If there is a fire in your home that you are unable to control, don’t stop to gather belongings or get dressed; ensure that everyone in the house is awake, and evacuate immediately. Move a safe distance away before calling 999.
At Trust A Trader, our aim is to keep you and your home safe. Safe from fire, from robbery, from rogue traders. Follow us on Facebook or Twitter to make sure that you can find traders you can trust with complete peace of mind.