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Fire prevention and safety

Find out how to prevent a fire and what to do if a fire breaks out.

How to prevent a fire

The government’s “Fire kills: you can prevent it” campaign includes essential advice about preventing fire and staying safe when fire does break out. You can get further fire safety advice from your local fire station.

Smoke alarms

Everyone should fit and maintain smoke alarms. You need at least one on every floor. Most fire deaths occur due to smoke inhalation while people are sleeping. Test your smoke alarms at least once a month to ensure they will work when you need them to.

Plan an escape route should a fire break out and make sure it is always clear from obstructions. Make sure everyone in your home knows about it and that keys for doors and windows can be found quickly.

Take extra care in the kitchen – accidents while cooking account for over half of fires in homes.

Do not overload electrical sockets or leave the TV and other electrical appliances on standby as this can cause fire. Getting the “before bed routine” right could save your life.

Take care with candles.

Advice for smokers

If you smoke, make sure cigarettes are stubbed out properly and disposed of carefully. 

Do not smoke in bed. More people die in fires caused by smoking than in fires with any other single cause. 

If you do smoke you can purchase fire retardant blankets and bedding as a precaution, but these will not stop a fire.

If a fire happens

If there is a fire, get out, stay out and call 999. Never use a lift and do not return to a burning building.

If you are trapped in smoke, stay close to the floor where the air is cleaner. Cover your nose and mouth with a wet cloth if possible. If a door feels hot, do not open it, as it probably means there is a fire on the other side. Block the bottom of doors with towels and other items to stop smoke coming in.

Remember – never re-enter your home until the fire service has made it safe.

After a fire

There is a lot to think about after a fire.

You may need to arrange temporary accommodation. It is advisable to contact your insurance company as soon as possible, as well as your gas, electricity and water suppliers. You can also get advice from your Local Council.

The British Red Cross has a fire and emergency support service that can provide practical advice and comfort to the survivors of a house fire, and can help with temporary shelter and advice.  

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