Following on from the devastating fire in Plymouth, where luckily nobody lost their life, it really brings home the importance of fire safety once again and there are a few simple things we can all do to ensure that we protect our homes and our lives as much as possible.
Figures* released from April 2013 to March 2014 show that there were 212,500 attended fires in Great Britain by the Fire Service. The most common hour for fires to occur in the home is between 8pm and 9pm with 9% of all fires happening at this time. However midnight to 5am accounts for 11% of all domestic fires and 1/5th of all deaths in the UK. 38% of which are from homes with no smoke alarms fitted.
Whilst our homes may be protected with buildings and contents insurance and most items can be replaced, the most precious of things cannot, and that is life.
So there are some really basic things that can be done to protect yourself and your loved ones from a fire. Whilst fitting and regularly testing a smoke alarm remains at the top of the list, is this something we all do? For a few pounds we can get this and have it fitted. But there are some other really important things you can do and questions to ask yourself.
If smoking or using candles or tea lights, ensure they are properly extinguished after use. When using tea lights and candles are they on a fireproof base (plate etc)
Do you have your items PAT tested to check that the electrical cabling is safe? This starts at around 50p an item!
Do you make sure your property has an annual gas safety inspection?
Don’t drink late at night and put the cooker on to cook warm food and leave it! (It’s easy to forget and fall asleep). In fact when cooking it’s advised to ensure you keep close by to watch over the food.
Do you ensure you keep your chimney swept and clean, if you have a fireplace?
Electrical cabling running under carpets or rugs can become damaged! Check this regularly. Out of sight should not mean out of mind.
Do you keep sources of ignition away from children?
Do you know the best way out of your house in a fire? (Simple, but seconds save lives).
Do you do a full check of your home when you either go to bed, or go out? Are electrical items turned off and unplugged? Are any sources of ignition completely out? (Cigarettes, candles etc). We all check our windows and doors are locked, so do this at the same time!
The list really is endless, but the main importance is to ensure you have done all you can to preserve yours and your families life. If the worst should happen, a final question would be do you have life insurance? For as little as about £15 a month you can get joint insurance, so should the worst happen, your loved ones who are left behind don’t have to worry about the financial burden whilst coming to terms with their loss.
Remember, fire is devastating, but homes can be rebuilt and items replaced. Lives lost are permanent.
(*figures from gov.uk)