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