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Fire safety guidance

Most fires in the home can be prevented by taking some basic precautions.

Download Fire Safety in the Home guidance from GOV.UK.

See further fire safety 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.

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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 or an air fryer instead   

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Electrical safety

Faulty electrics such as 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

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Naked flames

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

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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

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Book a home fire safety visit

Book a home fire safety visit by the Fire and Rescue Service.

Home fire safety visits are completely free of charge and can be arranged 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.

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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

For further fire safety advice, visit the North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service website or the National Fire Service website.

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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.

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Also see

Healthy and Sustainable Homes Service

West Offices, Station Rise, York, YO1 6GA

Telephone: 01904 552300