More than 200 people each year lose their life in a house fire in the UK. The majority of the 37,000 house fires occur between 10pm and 6am and are the result of electrical equipment misuse – especially leaving food cooking and forgetting about it.
A massive 40% of electrical equipment fires involve people leaving food cooking on the hob or in the oven until it sets alight. More than 1,500 fires were caused by leaving a chip pan unattended.
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A fire alarm is vital in terms of fire safety – yet according to statistics for 2018, a massive 38% of battery-operated smoke alarms failed to work in the event of a blaze. This was due to flat, disconnected or missing batteries.
You have only minutes to escape from a fire and every second counts, so why have a smoke alarm that doesn’t work, when it’s there to warn you about a fire, giving you more time to get to safety? The fire service says having a working smoke alarm is associated with a lower casualty rate and less damage to your home. In fact, a working smoke alarm increases your chances of survival four-fold.
If you live in a rented property, your landlord must follow the latest safety regulations. These include providing a smoke alarm on every storey. The landlord must also make sure the tenants have access to escape routes at all times.
If the property is a large house with multiple occupants, fire alarms and extinguishers must be provided.
All landlords are legally responsible for making sure the wiring and the electrical appliances they provide are safe. This is the case whether it is a private, council or housing association property.
Basic safety checks must be arranged for the electrics and appliances such as the cooker. Old properties must be rewired by a professional, qualified electrician, should there be any risks with the existing wiring.
After the electrician has checked the electrical appliances, those that have passed should have a Portable Appliance Test sticker on the plug, showing the date they were tested and when they are due to be checked again.
You can prevent most house fires by following some simple steps – dubbed the 10 Commandments of fire safety:
- Teach every member of your household about the dangers of a fire and make sure you draw up and practice an escape plan.
- Install a smoke alarm on every floor of your property. There should be at least one alarm per floor, preferably more.
- Keep candles away from flammable materials and never leave them unattended.
- Don’t leave appliances on standby. Always turn them off if they are being left unattended.
- Unplug electrical appliances at bedtime and keep them up-to-date in terms of maintenance.
- This is a very important one – put out all cigarettes properly in ashtrays and NEVER smoke in bed, especially late at night, when there’s a high risk you will fall asleep.
- Always be particularly aware of fire hazards in the kitchen and never leave the chip pan unattended.
- Don’t leave clothes or any other items hanging or drying too close to a heater.
- Keep your smoke alarms dust-free and test them once a week. Regularly maintain them, such as changing the batteries, to ensure they are in full working order.
- If there is a fire in your home, get out fast. Don’t try to fight it on your own. Shut all the doors and immediately call the fire brigade on 999. Remember you can replace your furniture, but you can’t replace YOU.
If you’ve suffered a fire, Furniture Rental Online can provide emergency and insurance furniture, which can be delivered quickly.