Avoiding fire isn’t just about being careful with matches. In fact, household blazes are most often caused by the most common household activities, meaning regular checks and repairs are vital to staying safe. Here are our top tips for preventing a fire at home.
Lights and Sockets
Flickering lights, fuses that blow and circuit-breakers that trip unexpectedly, unusually hot plugs and scorch marks around sockets are all indications that that there may be something wrong with your wiring. Aging wires in particular can spark and cause fires, so make sure you always quickly replace any electrical cables that appear to be deteriorating.
In addition, power cables should also be regularly checked – and take particular care to spot missing grounding prongs on plugs.
If you’re going to use candles and any other open flame appliances or decorations, as well as taking the usual care (especially in the presence of children), we recommend using secured candle holders and making sure they’re well away from anything that might catch fire.
If you have a fireplace in your home, regularly check it for cracks and damage and have your chimney swept at least once a year.
In the Kitchen
Modern hobs rarely use open flames, so it can sometimes be difficult to tell whether they’re switched on or off. Always double check you’ve turned your hob and oven off when you’ve finished cooking, and have one last check before you go to bed.
Saucepan handles are also a potential kitchen hazard, make sure the handles are turned inwards to help prevent the risk of them and their contents being knocked off and onto the floor or the hot hob.
If the phone always rings when you’re in the middle of cooking dinner keep an eye on your pans, if you notice that the oil starts smoking it’s too hot and may catch fire. Turn the heat off and leave it to cool. And if your feline friend has a tendency to climb on the counters, keep an eye on them, especially when you’re cooking. A swish of a tail could easily cause something to catch fire.
Around the Home
Take care when heating your house, too. Portable heaters are a particularly common fire hazard, and should always be kept a decent distance from anything flammable.
Check also that your white goods are plugged into a single plug rather than a multiple plug extension lead. Appliances like washing machines use a lot of power and overloaded plugs can start a fire.
Be sure to regularly check your gas supply: leaks, faulty lights and loose fittings should be repaired or replaced as soon as possible. Never hesitate to arrange a professional inspection if you ever smell or suspect a gas leak.
Every home should have smoke alarms but how often do you test them? As well as regularly checking your alarms are in working order, consider switching to longer life batteries. Ten year batteries are now available and while they’re more expensive, they’ll need replacing less often and will save you money in the long run. We also recommend using smoke alarms that have recognised approved and safe symbols (see below). And don’t forget that most fire services offer free home safety visits, especially useful for the elderly or disabled.
Have an Emergency plan
It’s important to plan an escape route for you and your family and make sure everyone is clear on how they can get out should a fire break out – including where the door and window keys are should they need to find them quickly.
Finally, make sure the exits out of your rooms and your property are always kept clear, so if you need to get out quickly, you can.
Watch our interactive video above to learn more about fire prevention
Help prevent a blaze by swotting up on fire prevention around the home, from making sure you’re checking your household wiring for signs of wear and tear, to keeping safe in the kitchen.
Can you spot all the fire hazard hot-spots in the video above? Click the icons to reveal fire prevention tips.
A fire can be devastating, but we're here for you if the worst happens in your home. If you need to make a claim with us
, please make sure you have your policy schedule and as many details of the damage as possible to hand, as these will speed up your claim.