Prevention is the most effective firefighting tool we have. Here are some tips to help people keep safe in their homes.
Prevention is the most effective firefighting tool we have. Here are some tips to help people keep safe in their homes.
An extension lead or adaptor will have a limit to how many amps it can take, so be careful not to overload it.
Appliances use different amounts of power - a television may use a 3amp plug and a vacuum cleaner a 5amp plug for example.
Remember high wattage appliances such as irons or hairdryers should not be plugged into the spare sockets on an extension as they can easily overload them.
When adding an appliance to an extension or adapter consider the total power requirement of the appliances and do not exceed the extension or adapters amp limit. The socket calculator should help you determine if the combination is safe for your extension.
Ensure even the youngest members of your family are aware of the importance of electrical safety in the home by ensuring they visit the Electrical Safety Councils website for kids. They will be educated whilst being entertained by the games and quizzes.
Keep electrical appliances clean and in good working order to prevent them triggering a fire.
We would like to remind householders to follow some simple safety advice when using tumble dryers, washing machines or dishwashers.
We are always urging people to be aware of the risks associated with washing machines, tumble dryers and dishwashers. These tips will help reduce your chances of suffering this sort of fire.
Don't leave the washing machine, tumble dryer or dishwasher running overnight or while you are out. They are a fire risk because of their high wattage, friction and motors.
The Association of Manufacturers of Domestic Appliances (AMDEA) have launched a scheme to improve ownership data in case a safety repair or recall is needed. This way they can easily contact you should they need to, and you can register all your appliances in one place. See www.registermyappliance.org.uk for more information on this fantastic scheme.”
WARNING! Don’t get confused between the CE mark and the China Export Mark!
As the cold weather spreads across the country through the Autumn and Winter, many people choose to use an electric blanket. Care should be taken to avoid risking a fire by careless use of an electric blanket. Electric blankets account for over 5000 fires a year in the home and you can prevent these by taking some simple steps.
If your blanket or any part of the wiring shows any of these danger signs, you should have it checked or replaced:
An old BEAB safety mark - a round symbol (the new sign is white capital letters on a black background). This means it is more than 10 years old.
It's cheaper to replace a worn electric blanket than it is to replace your family and your home. So if you are in any doubt about the condition of your blanket, bin it and buy a new one.
You should replace you electric blanket at least every 10 years. Don't buy a second-hand blanket and look for the British or European standard and make sure it has a safety certification mark. Make sure the blanket has an overheat protection.
Storing your blanket in the correct manner will ensure you get the best from it. Don't fold electric blankets - it can damage the wiring. Better to roll them. Or you can store blankets by putting them on a spare bed. Electric under blankets can be left on your bed all year if you wish.
Never use an electric under blanket as an electric over-blanket, and vice versa.
Store blankets as suggested in the instructions to prevent damage to the wiring.
Switch off and disconnect blankets before you get into bed unless they have a thermostat control for safe all-night use.
Never use hot water bottles in the same bed as an electric blanket, even if the blanket is switched off.
Only wash your electric blanket if the instruction deems this appropriate and follow the guidelines given.
Be aware of defects to the blanket and get the item checked if you see any signs of damage.
Where possible make sure your blanket is tested by an expert regularly.
Make sure your blanket is tested by an expert at least every three years. You can ask the shop where you bought it about testing and servicing, or contact the trading standards department at your local council - they often have free testing days.
Cigarettes can cause a fire if not handled with care. Please follow the advice below and reduce the risk of a cigarette causing a fire:
Stub cigarettes out properly and dispose of them carefully. Put them out. Right out!
Matches an lighters should be used with care and kept out of the reach of children as they can easily start a fire if used improperly.
Matchboxes now carry the warning label illustrated below, which is a warning to keep them out of the reach of children.
Anyone using emollients regularly should keep well away from fire or naked flames. A build up of residue on bedding, clothing and dressings can increase flammability. Follow this link to learn more about emollient creams.
An electronic cigarette, also known as an e-cigarette, is an electronic inhaler that vaporises a liquid solution into an aerosol mist, simulating the act of tobacco smoking.
All e-cigarettes use a rechargeable battery to power the vaporiser and these batteries require recharging on a regular basis. A number of incidents have been reported nationally whereby the battery has either overheated or exploded during the charging process.
E-cigarettes are known to contain lithium ion batteries; this type of battery is known to have caused fires in the past due to 'thermal run away' which can be caused by overcharging, physical damage or a defect within the battery during manufacture.
Members of the public are advised to always follow manufactures instructions and guidance when charging e-cigarette battery packs.
A further point of note is that some e-cigarettes may not have a plug. They charge by connecting the battery into a USB hub and then into a laptop; it is therefore essential that the manufacturers instructions, in relation to charging times, are followed.
Power adaptors used for charging e-cigarettes should comply with The Electrical (Safety) Equipment Regulations 1994 and The Electromagnetic Compatibility Regulations 2006. They must be marked with the following:
Recently there has been an increase in the number of unbranded e-cigarette chargers available to consumers; many of which are non-compliant with regulations. Specific risks found with these chargers include:
It is recommended that only the battery and charger provided with the e-cigarette are used when charging.
Candles are safe products, but unless they are used safely and watched carefully, they can lead to an accidental fire.
More than 15,000 candle fires are reported annually. The bulk of candle-fire incidents are due to inattention to basic fire safety or to the misuse of candles.
Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service urges consumers to be careful when burning candles, and to follow these rules for burning candles safely.
Make sure candles are secured in a proper holder and away from materials that may catch fire, like curtains.
All upholstered furniture must meet fire resistance standards. This includes sofas, beds, garden furniture and cushion fillings. It is a criminal offence for a furniture supplier not to meet the safety standards.
All upholstered furniture must meet fire resistance standards. New furniture must be permanently labelled. Any second hand furniture made after 1950 must be fire resistant and meet certain tests.
The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire Safety) Regulations say that for new furniture:
You are more at risk from fire when asleep. So it's a good idea to check your home before you go to bed.
The following is a good basic check list you can use before you go to bed:
Chimney fires happen when soot or creosote deposits in the chimney catch light due to high temperatures or flames from a very hot fire extending into the outlet. These types of chimney fires are sometimes associated with:
It should be noted that it is possible to experience a chimney fire without any of these characteristics so this should be treated as a guide.
All chimney fires are extremely dangerous - internal flue temperatures can reach 1,100 degrees Celsius. As a result, massive radiant heat is emitted through the chimney walls and, with the addition of a thatched or wooden roofs, a devastating house fire can start quickly. Flames and sparks can leap from the chimney top or through cracks in the flue and ignite the roof or other parts of the house. The bricks of the chimney can become hot enough to combust nearby flammable materials such as thatch and wooden beams. Adjoining houses and nearby trees can also be affected.
If there is no apparent damage to the outside of the chimney breast or flue, it is still highly likely that there is damage to the lining of the chimney. Chimney fires burn hot enough to damage liners, crack chimney walls and pots and damage factory-built metal chimneys.
Always make sure that you have a working smoke alarm fitted to each floor of your house. They help save lives by giving you earlier warning of a fire and extra seconds to get out. Make sure you have an escape plan in the event of a fire.
If you have a fire, get out, stay out and call 999.
There are four main reasons for chimney fires happening:
To reduce the risk of a chimney fire, you should:
Anyone that has an appliance with a flue has a responsibility to maintain the appliance and the flue. It is often stated that people should take reasonable care within the terms of household insurance policies and, in the case of thatched properties, the frequency of sweeping is often specified by the insurers.
If you are in a rented property, your landlord has a duty of care towards you as a tenant 'to repair and keep in any working order, any room heater and water heating equipment'.
Sweeping your flue/chimney removes deposits which have built up due to the burning of carbon-based fuels, such as coal, wood, oil and gas. It makes sure there is a clear and safe passage for gases caused by the burning process, which are combustible, making the risk of the chimney catching fire less.
Sweeping will also mean that objects such as nests, cobwebs and loose brickwork, which could obstruct the chimney, are also removed.
For further technical information on chimney sweeping and to locate a registered sweep please visit:
The National Association of Chimney Engineers (NACE)
The Guild of Master Sweeps - guildofmasterchimneysweeps.co.uk
The National Association of Chimney Sweeps - www.nacs.org.uk
The Association of Professional and Independent Chimney Sweeps - www.apics.org.uk
Heat your home safely pdf 692.15 KB
Open fires and chimney fires leaflet pdf 1,880.37 KB
After a chimney fire has been put out, the chimney must be inspected as soon as possible. It should not be used until this inspection has been carried out.
A certified chimney sweep should carry out a thorough inspection before the chimney is used again to see if there has been any damage caused and any remedial work needed.
An open fire or a wood burner might provide a focal point to a room and an alternative way of heating your home. But they also bring an increased risk of a fire if not looked after properly and chimneys not maintained.
The main points to remember if you have an open fire or wood burner are to:
If possible don’t skip servicing of boilers and gas appliances by a Gas Safe engineer to prevent gas leaks and CO poisoning.
Where you have a heating appliance that doesn’t run off electricity, we recommend installing a carbon monoxide alarm – it’s the only way to detect this harmful, colourless, odourless gas which can be fatal.
Landlords must arrange for an annual gas safety check in rented accommodation.
If you’re a homeowner check your energy provider’s website for information about their Priority Services Register – if you’re eligible they often offer a free annual gas safety check along with other support.