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Easy ways to reduce the risk of fire in your home

During July firefighters were called to attend 20 accidental fires in homes across Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes.

With temperatures soaring outside, our crews are keen to help people avoid the heat inside, and have brought together some tips on how you can reduce the risk of an accidental fire starting inside your home.

Community Safety Manager, Joanne Cook, said: “The effects of a fire in your home can be devastating. In most cases the experience is costly and emotional for those whose property and possessions have been involved. In the worst case it could result in someone losing their life.

“By following the advice listed below, undertaking a few simple safety checks and implementing precautions, you can make all the difference, and reduce the risk of a fire starting in your home.”

Kitchens:

Around half of domestic fires begin in the kitchen, with cooking being the primary cause. To help you avoid needing to call 999 for a kitchen-related fire in your home:

  • Manage distractions, such as interaction with social media, carefully to avoid cooking overheating on the hob or in the oven.
  • Use technology, such as Google Home or Alexa, to set a timer to alert you when cooking is ready.
  • Keep your hob areas clear. Items falling onto a hot hob start to smoulder very easily.
  • Turn the toaster off at the wall when it is not being used. Something falling against a toaster can easily depress the lever into the on position.
  • If you are providing a microwave meal for someone, but won’t be there when they heat it, put a sticker on the packet which clearly shows the recommended cooking time.
  • Avoid using washing machines, tumble dryers or dishwashers overnight or when you are going out. A developing fire is detected more quickly when these appliances are operated when you are awake

Fans:

Hot weather has been enjoyed by many in recent weeks. However, some people are turning to electrical devices, such as fan, to help keep rooms cool. We have had incidents where fans are believed to have caused a fire, so if you or someone you know is using a fan:

  • Ensure it is placed on a stable surface.
  • If oscillating, ensure it is not obstructed and freely able to turn to full rotation. Obstructing a fan can cause the motor to overheat.
  • As with all electrical devices make sure it is in good working order with no damage to cables and plugs.
  • When not in use ensure the fan is switched off and unplugged from the power supply.

Candles:

  • Candles which have been left burning and unattended, are another common reason for our firefighters needing to attend your home. Please remember:
  • If you burn candles, place them away from curtains or other flammable items.
  • Ensure candles are extinguished when you leave the room.
  • Tealights must always be placed in a suitable container.

Internal doors

A correctly fitting door will reduce the spread of fire and smoke through your property, helping to keep your escape route clear, and potentially reducing the amount of damage your home suffers.

  • Ensure internal doors are closed when you leave the house, and at night.

Smoke detection:

Last of all, please check you have a smoke alarm which sounds when the test button is pressed.

  • If you do not have working smoke detection on each floor of your property they can easily be purchased from a local reputable DIY shop – make sure your purchase displays a British Standards Kitemark, or the CE mark (see images below).
  • If you do not have working smoke alarms and you have a landlord, contact them to arrange for missing or faulty alarm/alarms to be replaced.
  • Although a carbon monoxide alarm will sound as the level of carbon monoxide increases in a room involved in fire, working smoke alarms provide early warning of fire.


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