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Home Safety

There are a number of important safety precautions property owners should take to ensure their homes are safeguarded from hazards. Whilst exterior home security (link to home security) is advisable to protect properties from potential crime or intruders, there are a few simple guidelines that home owners should pay careful attention to, to help protect their properties and their families from potential hazards.

Fire prevention

The number one cause of fires in the home start in the kitchen. Pans should never be left unattended whilst cooking and flammable materials such as tea towels should be kept at a safe distance from cooking appliances. Fire blankets and extinguishers can be purchased from safety suppliers and should be installed both in the kitchen and around the property, it is important to be familiar with the operating instructions of both, as certain types of extinguisher are not always appropriate for particular types of fire, for instance oil fires. If an oil fire does break out, such as in an open chip-pan, it must NEVER be attempted to extinguish it with water. Throwing water onto an oil fire can create a fireball, causing the fire to spread. A fire blanket is the safest way to extinguish an oil fire.

British Standard (recognisable by the kite mark) smoke detectors and alarms should be installed at every level of the property and outside bedrooms. It is important to check the batteries every week and replace them at regular intervals.

An appropriate fireguard is recommended if a property has a traditional open fire and chimneys should be swept and cleaned regularly. Care should be taken to ensure that candles and cigarettes are never left burning unattended and it is advisable that cigarettes are not smoked in bed.

Many local fire and rescue services offer free home safety checks, a fire safety officer can visit and assess the home for fire risks and provide and install smoke alarms.

If a significant fire should break out, the property should be vacated immediately and emergency services called by telephoning 999. Never put yourself or family at risk by attempting to tackle the fire yourself.

Gas safety

Gas appliances and boilers should have a regular safety check by a CORGI registered engineer and have a valid safety certificate. If appliances aren't in a safe condition, there could be a serious risk of fire, gas leaks and carbon monoxide poisoning. It is advisable that home owners should also install a carbon monoxide detector, available from most DIY stores or safety shops.

If a gas leak should occur, it is important to turn the gas off at the main supply. Doors and windows should be opened, however light switches and electrical appliances should not be turned on, as this could result in a spark igniting the escaped gas. Never light cigarettes or matches in event of a gas leak.

Electrical Safety

Overloaded electrical sockets and extensions, poorly or incorrectly wired plugs and frayed or damaged flexible cables and leads can induce the risk of overheating, leading to electrical fires and electrocution if exposed cables are touched. Ventilation slots on electrical equipment should always be kept clear and free from covering or blockages and electrical cables and plugs should be regularly checked for damage and overheating.

It's important that the correct wattage of light bulb is fitted to light fixings, as exceeding the recommended wattage could result in a fire breaking out.

If it is safe to do so, electrical appliances should be unplugged in the event of a fire, the power should also be turned off at the main supply. Water should NEVER be thrown onto an electrical fire, fire blankets are one of the safest ways of extinguishing electrical fires.

Your family, property and possessions can be significantly safer from hazard by ensuring these simple guidelines are practised.


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