It is worth walking into every room of your house specifically to check for fire risks. If you go looking for dangers, you might be surprised by how many you find. The following are some areas you may want to check.
- Overloaded plugs Fit one plug per socket unless you use a bar adapter on a lead. Don’t plug appliances into the adapter that use more than 13 amps of current altogether. See electrics for more information.
- Electric cables Check for worn or taped up cables or leads. These can be dangerous so you should replace them. Don’t put cables under carpets or mats where they can become worn.
- Dangerous wiring Watch out for hot plugs and sockets, fuses that blow for no obvious reason, flickering lights, scorch marks on sockets or plugs. They’re all signs of loose wiring or other problems.
- Matches and lighters Keep matches and lighters where children can’t reach them.
- Lights Make sure lights aren’t positioned near curtains and other materials that could burn.
- Is your furniture fire-resistant? Most furniture is not fire-resistant, it can catch fire easily and it will produce clouds of poisonous smoke.
- Has your chimney been swept? If you have an open fire, make sure you sweep your chimney once a year.
- Ashtrays If someone smokes in your house use proper ashtrays and make sure they can not be knocked over easily. Avoid a build-up of ash, butts and used matches. Wet the contents of the ashtray before putting it in the bin.
- Inflammables Don’t keep inflammable materials, like solvents (such as some glues or aerosols) or paraffin, in direct sunlight or near a heat source. If you’re using something inflammable, make sure the room is well ventilated, and don’t light a flame nearby.
- Gas fires and carbon monoxide poisoning Each year, a number of people die from gas-related fires or explosions while others die from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning caused by charcoal and other fires in ill ventilated houses. Many others suffer ill health. It pays therefore, to go the extra mile of care.
IN THE LIVING ROOM
- Make sure any portable heater is positioned safely, preferably by a wall and facing in to the room. Keep it away from furniture or soft furnishings, and don’t use it to dry clothes.
- Has the chimney been swept? If you have an open fire, the chimney should be swept each year.
- Take care of your furniture by ensuring it is kept away from any likely source of fire.
- Is there a mirror over the fire or heater? It’s a dangerous position, because people looking closely at themselves in the mirror can set their clothing on fire.
- Ensure adequate ventilation, especially if you use a gas fire.
IN THE KITCHEN
- Make sure electrical leads do not trail over or go near the cooker.
- Do not hang towels or dish cloths on or over the cooker.
- Keep the oven, hob and grill clean. A build-up of fat and bits of food can start a fire.
- Ensure your kettle does not leak. This can be dangerous.
- Ensure the toaster is clean and well away from curtains whenever in use.
- Electrical appliances – especially those that work at high speeds, such as the washing machines should be serviced each year.
- Do not let cables or plugs get wet. Keep liquids away from electrical appliances.
- Make sure your ventilation is working properly and not blocked up, especially if you have a gas cooker.
IN THE BEDROOM
- Do not use candles in the bedroom if you can avoid it.
- If you use an electric blanket, it must be checked regularly for fraying, scorch marks, dampness and loose connections. Make sure it is not creased or folded as that can damage the internal wiring. Have your electric blankets replaced every 10 years.
- Make sure any portable heater is positioned safely, preferably by a wall and facing the room. Keep it away from furniture or soft furnishings that can catch fire.
- Exercise extra caution with light or fire sources in the bedroom if you are fatigued or have been drinking