Skip to content

Fire safety advice in the home

There are potential fire risks throughout your home but by knowing where they are and what you can do to mitigate risks you can greatly reduce the likelihood of a fire.

Make sure you have smoke alarms fitted on every level of your home and test them regularly to check they work. Modern homes have lots of soft furnishings, fires, heaters, lights, television and stereo equipment, all of which are potential fire hazards. Our list of fire safety tips gives you an idea of the type of things to look out for and what you can do to improve fire safety in the home.

Kitchens

Hobs, ovens and microwaves all have the potential to cause fire. Keep them clean and in good working order because a build up of fat and grease can ignite a fire. Keep tea towels, cloths and curtains away from the cooker and hob and electrics.

Kitchen equipment should be kept clean and free of any debris which could ignite and keep a fire blanket in the kitchen which can be used to extinguish a fire. If you use a chip plan, consider replacing it with an electric deep fat fryer which is fitted with a thermostatic cut out. If you do use a chip pan never leave it unattended. Never use water to extinguish a chip pan fire.

Open fires

If you have a real fire in your home never leave it lit without a fireguard and make sure that the guard is secured in place, especially if you have children or pets. Keep all furniture at least 1 metre away from the fire to minimise the risk of ignition by stray embers. Never dry clothes in front of the fire because they could be easily ignited. Always make sure the chimney is swept on a regular basis (at least annually).

Furniture

All upholstered furniture, such as sofas bought from new or second hand must meet home fire safety standards. This means the fillings and fabric must have undergone safety tests. New furniture should come with fire safety advice on their labels, these can be found under cushions. Always check for the label before you buy.

Electrical fires

Hot plugs or sockets, scorch marks, fuses that often blow, or flickering lights these are all signs of loose wiring or other electrical problems. To avoid electrical fires always check that you use the right fuse to prevent overheating and try and keep to one plug per socket.

Never use multi point adapters. If you do need more sockets get them fitted by a qualified electrician or use proprietary ‘gang’ sockets and make sure you have appropriate circuit breakers installed. Keep lamps well away from flammable materials and in a location where they cannot be knocked over. If you are buying a new electrical appliance check it has a British or European safety mark.

Candles

Candles and tea-lights have become increasingly popular and often play important roles in many religious festivals. Anything that smoulders, such as incense, or has a naked flame is a fire risk. If you do choose to have candles or tea lights in your home, always put them on a fireproof surface and do not leave them burning unattended.

Cigarettes and matches

Always make sure cigarettes are extinguished in a suitable ashtray and that matches and lighters are kept in a secure place where children cannot access them.

Tumble dryers

Keep tumble dryers and filters clean of fabric deposits on a regular basis.

Garages and sheds

People increasingly use their garage and shed to store belongings whether it’s petrol in a jerry can for the lawn mower, recycling or tins of old paint. All of these are potential fire hazards. 

You can reduce the risk of fire by keeping these areas clear of clutter, obstructions and anything that could cause or add fuel to a fire. Keep on top of your recycling and household rubbish and don't allow it to build up anywhere near heat sources or electrical sockets.

Escape plan

Be prepared for emergencies by having an escape plan.

  • Plan escape routes and make sure everyone knows how to escape. 

  • Make sure exits are kept clear.

  • The best route is the normal way in and out of your home.

  • Think of a second route in case the first one is blocked, especially stairs. 

  • Take a few minutes to practice your escape plan.

Many people are not aware that the Fire and Rescue Service can come and visit your home, free of charge, and recommend further fire safety tips you can take in your home. The above link provides detailed home fire safety advice on a number of issues.

However, it’s important to remember that whatever precautions you take against house fires, there is always a risk that your home and possessions may be damaged or destroyed by an unexpected fire. That’s why it is essential to be properly insured. With Ecclesiastical’s home contents calculator you can work your way round your home and check that you have adequate levels of contents insurance should you ever need to make a claim.

Ecclesiastical Insurance Group plc (EIG) Reg No 1718196. Ecclesiastical Insurance Office plc (EIO) Reg No 24869. Ecclesiastical Life Ltd (ELL) Reg No 243111. Ecclesiastical Financial Advisory Services Ltd (EFAS) Reg No 2046087. Ecclesiastical Underwriting Management Ltd (EUML) Reg No 2368571. E.I.O. Trustees Ltd Reg No 941199. EdenTree Investment Management Ltd (EIM) Reg No 2519319. All companies are registered in England at Beaufort House, Brunswick Road, Gloucester GL1 1JZ. EIO and ELL are authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Firm Reference Number 113848 (EIO) and 110318 (ELL). EFAS and EIM are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Firm Reference Number 126123 (EFAS) and 527473 (EIM). EUML is an appointed representative of EIO who is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Firm Reference Number 402228.