FIRE SAFETY

 

This information about what you can do, in your accommodation, to be more fire-safe and fire aware.

SMOKE ALARMS

35 people die each year (in the UK) because their smoke alarm is not working

It is vital that you do not tamper with or cover any smoke alarms in your accommodation – smoke alarms save lives.

If your smoke alarm goes off by mistake (for example some toast is burned) then do not remove the batteries to stop the alarm; instead, open a window (where possible) to get some fresh air and wait for the smoke to go.

Your support worker/housing officer can help you with checking your smoke detectors.

 

COOKING

Most fires (about 60%) start when people are cooking

If you are cooking, it is safer to

Not have children in the kitchen when you are cooking – it is safer if they are kept out of the kitchen, or in a playpen/basket, etc. while you are cooking

Not leave oil, grease, fat unattended on the cooker – fat can easily set on fire so you should stay in the kitchen and always watch the pan when cooking with fat

If the fat gets too hot and starts to smoke, turn off the cooker and leave it to cool

Never put water onto hot fat

 

PLUGS AND SOCKETS

Faulty electrics cause about 6, 000 fires in the home each year

If you put too many plugs in one socket, this can be dangerous.

One plug in one socket is best; this is especially true of items that use a lot of electricity like washing machines or electric fires/heaters.

If plugs or wires are damaged, this can be dangerous; check for plugs that are too hot, or have black marks on them, or wires that are frayed.  If you see anything like this, then unplug the item

If it was something provided by 1625ip, then please let your support worker/housing officer know as soon as possible

If it is something that belongs to you, then you should consider replacing the item or getting it checked by an electrician – remember that continuing to use that plug/wire might be a fire risk

 

CIGARETTES

Every 6 days someone dies in a house fire started by a cigarette. Smoking whilst drinking alcohol or smoking whilst in bed are responsible for 1/3 of all accidental house fires resulting in death.

Good advice includes:

Put it out, right out! Make sure your cigarette is fully extinguished

Fit a smoke alarm and test it regularly. A working smoke alarm can buy you valuable time to get out, stay out and call 999

Never smoke in bed. Take care when you’re tired. It’s very easy to fall asleep while your cigarette is still burning and set furniture alight

Avoid drugs and alcohol when smoking. It’s easy to lose your concentration when using any sort of drugs or drinking alcohol, combined with cigarettes and this could be lethal

Never leave lit cigarettes, cigars or pipes unattended – they can easily overbalance as they burn down

Use a proper, heavy ashtray that can’t tip over easily and is made of a material that won’t burn; don’t let it get overfilled; before emptying an ashtray always check that everything in there is fully put out

 

CANDLES

In the UK, there is an average of 21 candle fires a month, but this number rises dramatically to 29 fires a month during November, December and January. Candles are one of the biggest causes of fires in the home – during 2013/2014 six people died and 61 people were injured in fires started by candles.

The safest thing is to do is to not have candles at all and instead consider “flameless candles” – battery operated and/or LED candles – as well as being safer as there is not a lit wick, they also tend to last longer and don’t result in any harm caused by melted wax.

If you do buy wax candles, then some safety tips include:

DO

Place lit candles inside a purpose-made candle holder and put them on a heat-resistant surface.

Make sure they are held firmly upright by a stable holder so they will not fall over.

Take care with night lights and tea lights because they get hot enough to melt plastic (a television is not a fire-resistant object).

Keep them out of draughts and away from curtains, fabrics, and furniture.

Keep clothes and hair away from the naked flame.

Put it somewhere else if you could accidentally lean across or brush past it.

Extinguish candles before moving them.

Use a snuffer or a spoon to put them out.

Always double-check that they are completely out and not still smouldering.

DO NOT…

Put them under shelves and make sure there is at least one meter between a candle and any surface above it.

Leave candles placed within the reach of children or areas that pets can get into.

Put two or more candles closer than 4 inches (10 cm) together.

Let anything hazardous fall into the hot wax (e.g. matchsticks).

Leave them burning and you should extinguish candles before you leave a room.

Blow them out because it can send sparks and hot wax flying around the room.

Go to sleep with a candle still burning and never leave a burning candle or oil burner in a child’s bedroom.

 

PLANNING AND PREPARATION

A smoke alarm will warn you about a possible fire; it is important that you have a plan on how to respond if a smoke alarm goes off.

You need to plan for getting out and make sure that anyone else living in the property also knows the plan.

You should always know where the keys are

You should know your exit routes and keep them clear of obstacles

Do not stop to pack a bag or gather up belongings

You should not try to put out a fire yourself

Call 999 and ask for the fire service – be ready to tell them the address

 

IN EMERGENCIES

If your clothes are on fire

Do not run about – this will make it worse

Lie down and roll about – this will make the fire smaller – you can then use a coat or something to put out the rest of the fire

    • STOP – DROP – ROLL

If you cannot get out of the property

Go to one room and ring 999 – tell them which room you are in

If you are high up in a flat

Do not use the lift

Do not go out onto a balcony

If you can, go down the stairs

 

NIGHT-TIME CHECKS

A lot of fires start at night while people are in bed.  There are some checks you can do before going to bed

Close all the inside doors; closed doors slow down a fire

Unplug as many electrical items as you can, but not fridges, freezers, any medical equipment, etc.

Check the cooker is switched off – that the oven and none of the hobs have been left on at all

It is best not to leave the washer on overnight

Turn off heaters

Check the routes to the doors to the outside are clear

Make sure you know where your keys and phone are

Make sure that any candles and/or cigarettes are put out properly