General Fire Precautions
- Always close the doors at night, including the bedroom door.
- Make regular safety checks around the house and make definite exit strategies illustrating them diagrammatically and if windows are used for exit ensuring that they are easy to open.
- Discuss the risks of fire with all family members making sure that children are aware of two routes of vacating the property and aware of the dangers of hiding under the bed or in a wardrobe.
- Contact the fire service quickly and preferably from a neighbour’s house.
- Keep combustibles away from all heat sources; i.e. clothing, furniture, curtains, drapes, tablecloths and all flammable liquids.
- Heat sources to be considered cookers, boilers, heaters, including temporary portable heaters for winter conditions, also faulty electrical wiring.
- Never leave small children unattended, or leave in a secure play pen with some toys to provide a safe distraction.
- Never leave candles unattended when lit and burn them in a place not likely to be knocked over. Burning of candles in a bedroom is risky.
- Smoking anywhere in the house is potentially dangerous and never smoke in bed.
- The cooker and boiler should be in good working order, the boiler being inspected annually by an approved authority.
- When cooking over a naked flame be sure that loose clothing is not worn.
- Never leave the stove or cooker unattended whilst cooking.
- Should kitchen appliances break, always replace with new items which have passed vigorous safety checks.
- In the event of a blown fuse, find the cause of the problem immediately and rectify.
- Rubbish and general waste should not be allowed to accumulate and should be stored in a sensible location.
- Keep any toaster clean and away from any curtains which might easily blow on to the elements.
Chip Pan Advice
- If a chip pan is in use never leave it unattended and purchase a fire blanket.
- Do not fill the pan with more than one third of fat or oil.
- Do not place food in the pan if the fat or oil is giving off smoke, as this will cause the pan to spill over.
- Ensure the pan is turned off properly when cooking has finished.
- In the event of a fire in the pan, if possible, turn off the heat, use the fire blanket or run a cloth under a tap, wring out and leave to cool completely for a minimum of 30 minutes.
Bedroom – Electric Blankets
- Always switch off before getting into bed
- Ensure the blanket stays dry
- Make sure it has a safety check at least once every 3 years
- Check it contains the current safety mark
- If there are any scorch marks on the blanket then discard.
- Check if the heating wires have been damaged or displaced, by holding the blanket up to the light – The wires should be evenly spaced and should not touch each other anywhere.
- Make sure your blanket has an overheating protection system – this cuts the power off if the blanket starts to overheat. All new UK blankets now have this feature.
- A properly functioning smoke detector will alert you in the early stages of a fire giving as much time as possible to make an escape.
- Replace the smoke detector every ten years.
- Ensure the smoke detector has a test button, which is easy to use.
- Test the alarm at least once every couple of weeks.
- Other types of detector are available for those who are deaf or hard of hearing which alert by strobe lights and vibration.
- It is advisable to have extinguishers in the home.
- A water extinguisher is suitable for use on fires which are caused by lit paper, cardboard, textiles and fabric.
- A dry powder extinguisher is suitable on fires caused by lit paper, cardboard, textiles and fabric as well as fires caused by petrol, diesel or oil, together with fires involving butane, methane and propane; it is also suitable for electrical fires.
Coping with different types of fire
- Electrical fires are most common during the winter months especially the festive season. Avoid adaptors into adaptors.
- Clothing fires – In the event simply fall to the floor and roll around until completely extinguished.
- Wood and paper fires – Use large quantities of water.
- Cooking fire – Smother the pan with a lid or dampened cloth.
- Oven fires – Close the oven door and turn off the heat.
If you and your family are familiar with what has to be done in the event of a house fire this will enable you to overcome the feeling of possible panic and improve your chances of survival.
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