Every year in Britain there are thousands of house fires; some are minor with no injury or even a need to call out the fire services but some are more serious, even fatal. It is estimated 60% of house fires originate in the kitchen. But the risk of fire lurks almost everywhere in the home.
It is easy to imagine that it wouldn’t happen to you. Accidents don’t normally announce their imminent arrival, there is no warning. But it can happen to anyone if a few simple fire safety measures are not observed. Some fire risks we are all familiar with, others you might find surprising. Here we’ll look at ten of the most common causes of fire in the home – and most of them are avoidable, the fire need never have happened.
It can take only seconds to cause a serious fire in the kitchen. Hot, spattering oil is extremely dangerous and can quickly get of control. Distraction and leaving cooking unattended is the most common reason.
We often forget about our home heating system, but they do need periodic maintenance checks to ensure they remain safe. Ensure portable heaters are sited at least one metre from anything inflammable.
Year on year fire rescue services are called out to house fires caused by smoking. If you must smoke in the house make sure you use large, deep ashtrays.
Overloading extension leads, damaged cables, plugs and sockets, all cause fires if ignored. Visually check these items occasionally; it takes only seconds, but can save a lot of grief and costs.
Candles are romantic and atmospheric, but ensure they are fitted in a robust, stable, holder. Use them on a level, flat surface where they cannot fall over, and out of reach of children and inquisitive pets.
Children & Fire
Children are full of fun, often oblivious to their surroundings when absorbed in serious play. They are also curious, and play games like “I wonder what will happen if I…
Old, inadequate wiring
This type of fire is often associated with older properties. Wiring and cabling deteriorates eventually with temperature fluctuations over time affecting the integrity of many older materials. Substandard workmanship also accounts for many household fires.
Look in almost any home and you will find a dozen or so inflammable products of one kind or another. We use liquid fuels, solvents, cleaning products, paint and thinners, cosmetics, adhesives and paints, to name but a few. Always check the manufacturer’s storage recommendations.
Christmas tree decorations
Every year, up and down the country someone’s Christmas is spoiled because of a fire due to faulty tree lights. The light connections and wiring are fragile and easily damaged, so be careful when storing them after use and make sure the wires are not near a heat source when in use. And, don’t put candles near a Christmas tree.
Most of us enjoy a barbecue but they can be dangerous if care is not taken. The common cause of fire here is when people struggle lighting it. Out come the fire lighters and when they fail, liquid fuel is used. The trick with barbecues is patience; they can take a little time to get going sometimes. Also, allow hot coals to fully cool before disposal.
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