Cornwall Council estimate that over 80% of all fire related hospital casualties occur as a result of fires in the home.
Fires are quick to spread and can not only leave you with damaged furniture and belongings but can make your home uninhabitable or even worse, put lives in danger.
Accidental home fires can often be prevented with the right safety measures and precautions and if a fire does occur having a working smoke alarm is absolutely vital to minimising the risks to your home and the lives of the people who live there.
Causes of fire in the home
There are many ways a fire can start but here are a few of the main causes of fires in the UK.
Cooking in the home causes over half of accidental fires in the UK. Being vigilant in the kitchen is incredibly important as kitchen fires can be quick to spread.
Electrical appliances and faulty electrics account for around 7,000 fires in the home every year.
Candles and cigarettes
We can often get complacent about things that we use all the time, like candles and cigarettes. These often cause fires in the home because people don’t put them out or dispose of them properly.
Preventing a fire in your home
There are many things you can do to help prevent a fire in your home. We’ve outlined a few below but for more detailed guidance visit the Cornwall Council website.
- Turn saucepan and frying pan handles away from the edge of the cooker. If they don’t stick out they are less likely to be knocked off.
- Never leave a pan unattended if you are deep fat frying
- Always double check you have turned all cooking appliances off when you have finished cooking.
- Don’t leave young children unsupervised in the kitchen when you are cooking and keep matches out of reach.
Find out more about how to prevent a kitchen fire.
- Check your appliances have a European or British safety mark
- Make sure you use the correct fuses for your appliances
- Keep an eye out for scorch marks on wires or fuses that often blow. This might mean the wiring is faulty.
- Make sure portable heaters are secure and keep them away from fabrics that could catch light.
Find out more about electrical fire safety.
Cigarettes, candles and fires
- If you smoke you need to make sure you always put out and safely dispose of your cigarettes.
- Candles should be secured safely away from flammable materials and put out if you leave the room.
- Never leave matches or lighters within reach of young children
The most important thing to have in place if a fire does break out in your home is a working smoke alarm. It can save the lives of you and your family. Make sure you have a fire alarm on every level of your home and check the battery once a week.
According to Cornwall Fire & Rescue Service 18 people die every year because their fire alarm battery is dead or missing, so please make sure you carry out these checks. Cornwall Fire & Rescue Service offer further detailed information on fire alarms.
It’s important that everyone in your home knows the best way out of the house in the event of a fire. You should have a secondary route in case the first route is blocked. Always keep exits clear and make sure everyone knows where to find door and window keys. Cornwall Fire & Rescue Service offer advice on creating an escape plan.
What to do in the event of a fire
Even with the best safety precautions, accidents can happen and it’s important to be prepared if they do.
When a fire breaks out
- Stay calm and exit the building immediately.
- If there is smoke, keep low as you exit as the air will be clearer near the ground.
- Check the temperature of the doors you are using. If a door is warm it means there is a fire on the other side and you should not open it.
- Once outside call 999 and let the Fire Services deal with the fire.
Cornwall Fire and Rescue have detailed information on preventing and dealing with fire in the home. Please visit their website and download their literature below for more information of fire safety.