How to prevent a house fire

Posted January 13th, 2023 by SimpliSafe

A fire is one of the most devastating things that can happen to your home, so it’s essential to take the right steps to protect yourself and your belongings. A house fire can start in a number of ways, but luckily, many of these can be prevented. Read our top tips for keeping your house, and any people inside, safe by reducing the risk of a house fire.

Install and check smoke detectors

Installing a Smoke Detector in your home is essential, as it can alert you to smoke before it escalates into a large fire. This is one of the best preventative measures that you can take, as not only do the loud sirens alert you to the presence of smoke, they’ll give you and your family more time to evacuate the building. When paired with professional alarm monitoring, the authorities can be called in the case of a confirmed fire, even if you’re not home. It’s also important to regularly check that your smoke detectors are working and change the batteries when needed. 

Smoke Detectors should ideally be placed near sleeping areas or rooms that you spend a lot of time in, such as the living room. For maximum protection from fire, you should have a Smoke Detector installed on each floor of your home. However, avoid fitting a Smoke Detector in your kitchen, bathroom, or close to a stove or fireplace.

Don’t overload plug sockets

Extension cords are a helpful tool when you’re strapped for plug sockets in your home, but they can also be a fire risk. Be sure to check the power rating of your extension cord, as well as how much power each appliance you plug in is using. Even if an extension cord has room for four plugs, it isn’t always safe to do so. Therefore, try not to exceed 3000W or 13 amps in one plug socket. This will reduce the risk of any plugs overheating and starting a fire.

Additionally, air conditioners or fan heaters should never be plugged into extension cords. These can overheat extremely easily, so should always be used with caution. If you’re unsure about whether to use something with an extension cord, check the manufacturer’s guide.

Teach children about fire safety

If you live with children in the house, it’s important to educate them about fire safety; it’s the responsibility of a parent or guardian to ensure children know how to stay safe. Make sure that children know not to play with candles or kitchen appliances, and come up with a simple plan for them to follow in the case of a fire in the house. You should also take care to keep lighters, matches and candles out of reach of children, as per government advice.

Don’t smoke by soft furniture

Lots of the furnishings in your house may be flammable, so it’s important not to smoke in close proximity to them. Ideally, smoking should not occur indoors, however by taking extra care around soft furnishings there will be less risk of a fire starting. One third of house-fire related deaths are caused by smoking materials, so it’s advisable to keep cigarette breaks outside of your house. Make sure that cigarettes are properly stubbed out and safely disposed of, to prevent them from igniting a fire later on.

Take care in the kitchen

The kitchen is home to various fire risks, from your oven to the oil you cook with. To minimise the risk of a fire, you should always stay in the kitchen when cooking with appliances on. Stepping away for even a couple of seconds can cause a fire to start and escalate before you have the time to react. Cooking appliances are one of the most common causes of house fires, so it’s essential to always take care when cooking. 

Don’t leave lit candles unattended

Although candles have only a small flame, sometimes this is all it takes to start a house fire. Therefore, lit candles should not be left unattended, in case a fire begins to spread. This could happen under many circumstances, for example a pet knocking the candle over, or wax dripping onto other surfaces and igniting. No matter how safe a candle may seem, they should never be left unattended.

Don’t use damaged electrical cords

When an electrical cord or wire becomes damaged, this often means that the outer casing may be compromised. So, the live wire inside the cable can become exposed. Not only can this cause electric shocks, but it also runs the risk of starting an electrical fire. If you notice a damaged wire on an appliance, be sure to have it replaced immediately.

Clean air conditioners, heating units and vents

Air conditioners and heaters often end up storing large amounts of dust when they’re not cleaned regularly, which is a fire hazard. Take the time to carefully clean air conditioners and heating units to prevent a large build-up of dust. What’s more, other vents around your home should also be cleaned and kept dust-free. This can include ventilation systems above your oven and in your bathroom, as dust is highly flammable.

Store flammable liquids carefully

If you store flammable liquids in your home, such as petrol or paint stripper, be careful with where you store them. These liquids should be kept well away from any ignition sources, and ideally in an outdoor building that’s secure and cool. Liquids should also be stored in appropriate containers which are made from a suitable material and clearly marked as flammable.

If you prioritise your home’s safety, then a home security system is perfect for providing peace of mind, whether you’re in or out of the house. If you would like more information, please contact us.