How to protect your house from a fire
House fires are very rare – but it’s always better to be prepared. So this article is here to help you prevent fires and protect your home. Read on to find out about the risks of an overloaded socket, how to install smoke alarms and plenty more.
How to correctly install a smoke alarm
The best way of protecting your household against fires is to install alarms.
You can choose between battery-powered ones, which can be found at your local DIY shop for around £10, or mains-powered options which can cost up to £60.
Mains-powered alarms are more reliable because they run off your home’s electricity and have a back-up battery if a fire affects the mains. For complete peace of mind, it’s always best to have a smoke alarm repaired or installed by a professional.
The other great thing about this type of alarm is that they can be connected to each other. So, when one goes off, all the others in the house do too. This is important for alerting people in your home who are elderly or less able to walk as soon as a fire breaks out, giving them enough time to leave the house safely.
With this in mind, it’s best to install one on every landing. You might also want to look at installing sprinklers which help slow the spread of fire.
When buying a new smoke alarm, look out for the CE mark, BSI kitemark symbol or the initials LPCB. This shows it’s been certified by the British Standards Institution.
How often should you check your smoke alarm?
It’s important to test smoke alarms once a month. To do this, simply press and hold the test button until it starts beeping loudly. This can usually be found right in the middle of the alarm. Ask a family member or housemate to go into another room to make sure the alarm system works throughout the house.
If your alarm starts chirping in between tests it means the battery is running low and needs replacing. You should also dust and hoover around your alarms regularly and change them every 10 years.
Always be extra careful in the kitchen
Fires are more likely to start in your kitchen than in any other room in your home. But there are a number of things you can do to reduce the risk.
- Never leave cooking unattended on the hob or grill.
- Turn saucepan handles away from you so you can’t knock them over.
- Keep flammable materials like your oven mitt a safe distance away.
- Be sure to take extra care when cooking with oil and fat as both of these can be very flammable. And make sure to clean them up thoroughly when you’re done.
- Double check your oven and hob are turned off when you’ve finished cooking.
What are the dangers of overloading sockets?
If you have multiple devices plugged into a single outlet, it will quickly overwork and overheat the socket. This can lead to a fuse blowing, putting you at real risk of a fire breaking out. In fact, faulty or hazardous electrics cause around 6,000 household fires in the UK every year.
So, if you have more appliances than sockets, try using an extension cord with switches on it. Each port has an individual switch, meaning you can turn one on while leaving the others off. This is a much safer alternative, and easier than plugging different devices in when you need them.
Another reason your socket might catch fire is if it’s damaged or caught behind furniture and carpet. So try to keep sockets and leads clear of any obstructions and regularly check for signs of wear and tear.
Small changes for fire safety
Adopting a few new habits around the house can make a big difference to how safe your home is. For example, many people don’t realise that lint is in fact very flammable. So if you use a tumble dryer, make sure to avoid any build up by de-fluffing it regularly.
And once everyone is tucked in, make sure to close all bedroom and inside doors. Every closed door is another line of defence in case there’s a fire.
A Local Hero can help you protect your home
To find out more about how to make your house fire-safe, or to hire a helping hand to safely install mains alarms and sprinklers in your home, get in touch with a Local Heroes tradesperson today.