Most fires in the home can be prevented by taking some basic precautions.
Download the Fire Safety in the Home guidance (GOV.UK) for further information.
Fitting smoke alarms
The easiest way to protect your home and family from fire is by fitting a smoke alarm.
It's vital to fit and test a smoke alarm, but don't be tempted to do this yourself if you're at all unsure - it's a good idea to ask family or friends to help you test it.
Kitchen fire safety
Over half of home fires are caused by cooking accidents.
Help prevent a fire in your kitchen by:
- taking pans off the heat or turning them down if you have to leave the kitchen whilst cooking
- making sure you turn the cooker off when you've finished
- taking care if you're wearing loose clothing as it can easily catch fire
- keeping tea towels and cloths away from the hob
- keeping the oven, hob and grill clean and in good working order - a build up of fat and grease can ignite a fire
- not using pans for deep fat frying - use a deep fat fryer instead
Faulty electrics (appliances, wiring and overloaded sockets) cause around 7,000 house fires across the country every year.
Help avoid an electrical fire by:
- making sure an electrical appliance has a British or European safety mark when you buy it
- never overloading adaptors with too many plugs
- making sure certain appliances, such as washing machines, have a single plug to themselves (as they're high powered)
- unplugging appliances when not in use, especially heaters and irons
- keeping a look out for signs of dangerous or loose wiring such as scorch marks, hot plugs and sockets, fuses that blow or circuit-breakers that trip for no obvious reasons, or flickering lights
- checking and replacing old cables and leads, especially if they're hidden from view - for example, behind furniture or under carpets and mats
- never covering heaters with washing
- checking you use the right fuses in plugs, and the recommended bulb wattage in light fittings, to prevent overheating
More than 5 fires a day are started by candles, and every 3 days someone dies from a fire caused by a cigarette.
To help avoid a fire, make sure your candleholder or ashtray can't tip over, and never:
- leave burning candles unattended
- leave matches or lighters where children can find them
- smoke in bed
Make a fire escape plan
Make an escape plan to ensure you and your family are as prepared as possible in the event of a fire.
You should make sure:
- everyone in your home knows what to do
- you plan for not being able to use stairs or lifts
Book a home fire safety visit
Book a home fire safety visit by the Fire and Rescue Service:
- completely free of charge
- at a time that suits you
They can advise you on all aspects of fire safety within your home and help you devise an escape plan.
What you should do if a fire breaks out
If a fire breaks out in your home:
- get everyone out
- dial 999 immediately
- close doors behind you (this will slow the spread of the fire)
When leaving, you should:
- check whether doors are hot (don't open them if they are)
- stay close to the ground
- cover your nose and mouth
If you need to break a window and climb out:
- cover sharp edges
- throw out soft things like bedding to cushion your fall
Fire safety guidance for landlords
Contact our Healthy and Sustainable Homes team with any queries about our fire safety guidance.
Fire risk assessment form
Download our fire risk assessment form, designed to help landlords carry out a fire safety risk assessment of a property.
Fire safety presentation for HMO landlords
Download our 'Fire safety in Houses in Multiple Occupation' presentation from our training event in November 2019.