You’re four times more likely to die in a fire if you don’t have a smoke alarm that works.
- Fit at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home and test them regularly.
- Strobe light and vibrating pad alarms are available for those who are deaf or hard of hearing (for more information contact the Action on Hearing Loss Information Line on 0808 808 0123 or textphone 0808 808 9000).
In the kitchen
Around half of home fires are caused by cooking accidents.
- If you need to leave the kitchen while cooking, remove any pans from the heat.
- Keep handles out of reach so they can’t be knocked easily by children or pets (especially if you have cats that walk on your worktops).
- Take care if you’re wearing loose clothing and keep tea towels and cloths away from the cooker and hob.
- If you’re carrying heavy or hot pans or dishes across the kitchen, check for pets under your feet first!
Faulty electrics (appliances, wiring and overloaded sockets) cause around 6,000 fires in the home across the country every year.
- Don’t overload plug sockets and always check that you use the right fuse to prevent overheating.
- Look for signs of dangerous or loose wiring such as scorch marks, hot plugs and sockets, fuses that blow or circuit-breakers that trip for no obvious reasons, or flickering lights. Loose wiring is also a potential chew hazard for pets.
- Check and replace any old cables and leads.
- Unplug appliances and charging mobile phones while you’re not using them and when you go to bed.
This video from Electrical Safety First shows what the consequences can be:
Electrical Safety First has more tips to reduce the risk of electrical fires in your home on their website here.
Two fires a day are started by candles.
- Make sure candles are secured in a proper holder and away from materials that may catch fire like curtains.
- Blow candles out when you leave the room or when you go to bed.
- Keep children and pets away from lit candles.
An escape plan for your pets
Make sure exits are kept clear and avoid placing your pets’ bedding or toys directly in front of escape routes. You may wish to consider leaving your cat flap unlocked (depending on your cat’s lifestyle).
If there is a fire and your smoke alarm alerts, it’s difficult to overcome a cat’s natural instinct to hide when they are scared. We’d always recommend that you keep calm, act quickly and get yourselves to safety first. Exit the building and call 999.
If your cats are still inside the property, inform firefighters and tell them likely places that your cats may hide. Smoke inhalation can have fatal consequences so we would suggest that any pet involved in a house fire, even if it does not suffer any burns, is seen by a vet as a matter of urgency.
For more information on fire safety in the home, read the government’s advice here, contact your local fire and rescue service (not 999) or visit www.facebook.com/firekills