According to the English Housing Survey, only 5% of households have planned an escape route in the event of a fire. Spending some time planning how your household might get out can mean the difference between life and death in the event of a fire and is particularly relevant now in Home Safety Week.
Organised by the NFCC (National Fire Chiefs Council), the aim of Home Safety Week is to highlight the importance of having working smoke alarms and heat detectors in the home and ensuring that home owners think about the specific risks in their home for their family. To put it into context, there were a total of 34,706 accidental dwelling fires in the UK in 2016-17, leading to 236 fatalities and 6,456 casualties.
The first step of any home fire escape plan is to have working smoke, heat and CO alarms as they buy you time and increase your chances of safely leaving the home in the event of a fire. In 2016/17 95% of households in England reported having a smoke alarm and 90% reported having at least one working smoke alarm.
However, as our homes now have a wider range of gadgets and appliances which we are ever more reliant on, just having a single smoke alarm may not be enough. As a minimum there should be at least one smoke alarm on every floor of the house in areas such as the hall or landing, as well as in rooms of the home like the bedrooms, living room and dining room that are used most regularly, as these are likely to be the higher risk areas with an increased likelihood of being the source of a fire.
But approximately 50 percent of fires start in kitchen caused by cooking or cooking appliances. In general, these fires are more likely to be non-fatal but many of them are certainly preventable. Smoke alarms are not recommended for areas too close to kitchen appliances as airborne cooking fats may block the smoke alarm and prevent smoke from entering the sensing chamber. The installation of a heat alarm, designed to detect fast, flaming fires in areas not suitable for installing smoke alarms such as in the kitchen, garage, workshop or utility room, is the best solution.
Whether it’s an open fire, a wood burning stove, an AGA or a gas fire that will be keeping you warm this winter, it’s important to install a CO alarm to keep you safe. Carbon monoxide alarms should be fitted around 2-3 metres away from the appliance and high up. They do not necessarily need to be attached to walls or ceilings, so for example you could place them on a suitable shelf. You may need several CO detectors in your home if you have several appliances across different rooms.
Where possible, all the smoke, heat and CO alarms should be inter-linked so that all will sound if one goes off. The Cavius family of wireless alarms use Radio Frequency technology to sync with other wireless family alarms in the house. This means when one of the alarms is activated, all other connected alarms will sound an alarm too and everyone in your home, whether they’re upstairs, downstairs, or even in a separate wing of the house, will know immediately if there is a potential fire developing somewhere in the house. Early detection provides vital minutes and will help with evacuation out of the house faster in the case of a fire.
Other fire safety equipment you might consider as part of your home safety and escape plan include fire blankets, fire extinguishers and escape ladders. Firechief has a range of fire extinguishers which are ideal for home use and include:
Firechief Flamebuster – a 600ml aerosol can ideal for small domestic kitchen fires involving liquids and oil.
The Firechief 600g Powder Extinguisher – can tackle most fires involving wood/paper, flammable liquids and electrical fires yet it stands only 207mm high
Firechief Flame Buddy – a handy size aerosol extinguisher suitable for extinguishing small wood, paper, textile and cooking oil & fat fires
Firechief Lithex – the world’s first fire extinguisher for tackling Lithium ion battery fires which can occur with mobile phones, tablets, laptops, toys, power tools and electric scooters.
The Firechief range of products set the standard for those who are seeking competitively priced, superior quality, UK-approved fire safety products. Look out for the Firechief brand for products you can trust to help keep you safe. Contact [email protected] or call us on 0330 999 0019