Fire safety in your home
Fires caused by smoking (including cigarettes, roll-ups, cigars and pipe tobacco) result in more deaths each year than any other type of fire.
- It is safer to smoke outside but if you are inside make sure cigarettes are totally extinguished and disposed of properly
- Never smoke in bed
- Don’t smoke in an armchair or sofa if you think you may fall asleep
- Take extra care when you’re tired, taking prescription drugs or if you’ve been drinking alcohol
- Use proper ashtrays which can’t tip over and stub cigarettes out properly
- Never balance cigars or cigarettes on the edge of an ashtray or anything else; they can fall and cause a fire
- Don’t leave lit pipes or cigarettes unattended
- Empty ashtrays carefully – make sure smoking materials are out, cold and preferably wet them before throwing into a bin. Never use a wastepaper basket
- Keep matches and lighters out the reach of children and buy child-resistant lighters.
- Wheelie bin fires
Nuisance wheelie bin and rubbish fires are a problem in some neighbourhoods, typically causing damage of up to £1650, including damage to buildings, cleaning up and the cost of replacement.
To keep your wheelie bin safe:
- Don’t put out your bin until it is due for collection
- Don’t overfill your bin or leave loose waste around it
- Don’t store your bin in close proximity to a building
- Make sure the bins and any additional waste don’t block fire escape routes
- Don’t store waste by windows or doors
- Do kindly offer to help your neighbours if they are unable to bring in their wheelie bin after collection.
- Bedtime checks
Many fire deaths happen at night when most people are sleeping. Further reduce the risk of fire by carrying out some simple checks before you go to bed.
- Close your doors, this can help to stop flames and smoke from spreading to other rooms, giving you and your family more time to escape
- Turn off and unplug electrical appliances unless they are designed to be left on – like your fridge or freezer
- Don’t leave the washing machine, tumble dryer or dishwasher switched on
- Don’t leave devices such as mobile phones, tablets or e-cigarettes charging overnight
- Check your cooker is turned off
- Turn heaters off, rake out fires and put a fire guard in place
- Put candles, incense sticks and oil burners out and never leave them burning when you are asleep.
- Candle and naked flames
- Make sure you put out any candles, incense and oil burners when you leave the room and especially before bed
- Candles should always be held firmly in heat resistant holders and placed on a stable surface
- Keep candles away from materials that may catch fire such as curtains, furniture, clothes
- Tea lights get very hot and without proper holders can melt through plastic surfaces like a TV or bath
- To avoid accidents, keep candles and other naked flames out of reach of children and pets.
Watch this quick video by North Yorkshires Fire & Rescue rescue about candle safety.
More fires and fire injuries are caused by carelessness in the kitchen than anywhere else in the home.
- Avoid leaving cooking unattended
- If you have to leave the kitchen whilst cooking, it’s safer to take pans off the heat and turn off the hob and/or grill
- Don’t cook if you are tired, have been drinking alcohol or taking medication that might make you drowsy
- Loose clothing can easily catch fire – take care not to lean over a hot hob and keep tea towels and cloths away from the cooker and hob
- Keep the oven, hob, cooker hood and grill clean, and in good working order
- A build-up of fat and grease can ignite and cause a fire
- Use spark devices to light gas cookers
- Double check the cooker and hob are turned off when you’ve finished cooking
- Check toasters are clean and not placed under kitchen cabinets or close to anything that can catch fire.
- If a pan catches fire
- Don’t tackle the fire yourself and don’t attempt to move the pan
- Turn off the heat if it is safe to do so
- Never throw water over a fire as it could create a fireball
- Leave the room, close the door, shout a warning to others and call the fire brigade by dialling 999.
- Deep fat frying
- Take extra care when cooking with hot oil as it can easily overheat and catch fire
- Never fill a pan more than one third full of fat or oil
- Make sure food is dry before putting it in hot oil
- If the oil starts to smoke, it’s too hot. Turn off the heat and leave it to cool
- Use an electronic deep fat fryer if possible as they have automatic temperature controls.
- Outdoor cooking
- Never use a barbecue (including disposable ones) indoors or on a balcony
- Position your barbecue on level ground and keep it well away from anything that may catch fire (sheds, fences, trees, tents etc.)
- Never use petrol, paraffin or bio fuel to get the barbecue going or revive it
- Never take a barbecue into a tent, awning, caravan or motor-home. Even when cooling it will give off poisonous carbon monoxide fumes which can kill.
Read our fire safety blogs
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