Fire Hazards in the Home
Fire Hazards are all around us, whether we are aware of them or not. Sometimes, something that may seem convenient and normal to do may actually be a danger to us. Have you ever stopped and looked around at your surroundings to check for fire hazards? We may assume what are the most obvious fire hazards, but have you ever taken a minute to understand if there are fire hazards around you that you didn’t know?
The biggest fire hazards in the home
Candles are the most common fire hazard in the home and probably one of the most obvious fire hazards that you may be aware of. In 2019 Merseyside Fire and Rescue Services attended 32 accidental dwelling fires that were caused by candles.
Top tips for Staying safe with Candles
- Place candles out of reach of children
- Place them in secure locations
- Never leave an unattended candle lit
- Consider switching to LED battery operated candles
Overloaded plug sockets
Overloaded plug sockets are a high factor hazard that people may simply ignore due to them being convenient. Extension leads are a common household item that people use when they don’t have enough plug sockets or require multiple cables to be plugged in at the same place. Whilst the typical extension lead may be able to plug four appliances in at the same time it does not necessarily make it safer to use.
Top Tips for avoiding overloaded sockets
- Be wary of the current rating on the extension cable.
- Be cautious of the individual appliances’ current rating as plugging in multiple appliances may exceed the current rating of the extension cable.
- Never plug one extension cord into another extension cable
- Check for any danger signs including sparks, smoke, burning smell, or damaged and frayed cables
Loose Wiring and Faulty Plugs
Over time and through accidental trips and pulls, cables may become loose in plugs which can be a big risk. We rely on 90% of the things we use daily to be plugged in, whether it’s plugged in permanently or plugged in for a few hours we can’t avoid doing it and we shouldn’t avoid checking them.
Top fire risks for loose wire hazards and faulty plugs to look out for:
- Any coloured wires that are loose and visible inside the plug
- Scorch marks on plugs or hot plugs
- Be aware of the position of cables and plugs and limit the chances of tripping over them
Electrical items can carry a high risk, especially charging items over a long period of time. These days, there is an increase in the number of products using Lithium-ion batteries. When lithium-ion battery-powered items such as laptops, mobile phones, and tablets, are left to charge over a long period of time, the battery will heat up.
The London Fire Brigade attends 24 fires each week due to fires started by chargers, batteries, and cables.
Top fire protection tips for Electrical hazards:
- Do not get electrical items wet
- Don’t use electrical products that are wet
- Limit the number of electrical products you keep plugged in overnight. Certain appliances are designed to be left plugged in such as fridges and freezers
If your charging cable is broken, you should always buy a certified cable as this means it has been tested and is safe to use. Many companies sell ‘cheap’ charging cables which are usually not tested and haven’t passed the right testing. It is also best to only charge items when they need to be charged and not left to charge over a long period of time i.e. during the night.
Top Tips for Charging Cables:
- Only charge when needed
- Once fully charged unplug the appliance
- Be cautious of plugs and devices getting hot due to being plugged in for a long period of time
Portable heaters, or ‘space heaters’ may seem like the perfect appliance to warm a room up quickly. It may be a cost-effective and efficient appliance to use However, if used incorrectly, it can catch fire. Every year over 100 people die and nearly 1,000 people are injured due to heating appliances.
Top Tips for Using Portable Heaters safely:
- Put heaters on a flat surface and open area
- Do not place anything over the heater
- Turn off heaters when you no longer need to use them, especially before bed or leaving the room.
How to protect against fire?
Fire safety is highly important and ignoring fire risks only increases the risk of fires. Sometimes, even with proper fire care and awareness, we cannot always control when a fire will occur. What is important is knowing what to do in the case of a fire.
- Test smoke alarms regularly
- Replace batteries in smoke alarms when needed
- Consider installing a fire suppression system such as a water mist sprinkler system
- Be aware of potential fire hazards in the home i.e., fireplaces and appliances
- Remember to turn off appliances after use
- Regularly check appliances to ensure they are safe
- Keep flammable items out of reach and children and at least 3 feet away from anything hot
If you would like to know about the fire hazards in the home and how to ensure your home is safe you can use a home fire protection checklist to assess.
Why should residential properties have mist fire sprinklers?
Residential fire sprinkler systems are an important fire safety system designed to reduce property damage and reduce the risks of fire spreading whilst saving lives. Fire sprinkler heads will only activate within the area of the fire and won’t result in all sprinklers being set off at the same time meaning the sprinkler targets the necessary area. Mist fire sprinklers are so effective that is it is now a regulation in England that all buildings over 30m must have a water sprinkler system.
How do I install a fire sprinkler system?
If you are wanting to ensure your property has the best fire protection systems installed it is important that any water mist system installed in your property is done by an accredited installer. NPHS offers bespoke design and installation of water mist fire suppression systems for your property. We guarantee a free no-obligation quote to understand your needs and how we can help you choose the best sprinkler system.