Top tips to avoid a DIY fire or injury

Sat 19 Apr, 2014

Don’t let a do-it-yourself disaster wreck your Bank Holiday break. That’s the message from firefighters at one of the times of year most associated with DIY projects and spring cleaning.

Neil Boustred, Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service’s community safety manager, said: “Fires and injuries caused by blowtorches and power tools tend to rise at this time of year.

“Be extremely careful if you are about to use an electrical appliance that has been stored in a damp garage or shed over the winter, or if you are considering using anything powered by gas.”


Neil’s top tips for avoiding a DIY fire or injury are:

  • If you have a separate working area such as a garage or workshop, don't allow sawdust, oily rags and other hazards to mount up.
  • Use non-flammable materials or liquids wherever possible. If you have to store flammable liquids, keep them in small, strong, labelled containers with screw tops. Plastic containers other than approved ones should not be used.
  • Equip your workshop sensibly, and don't smoke in it. Any heaters should be wall mounted.
  • Don't use a naked bulb - use a proper inspection lamp.
  • Don't use makeshift wiring extensions or adaptors.
  • Use properly installed sockets for electrical tools - a residual current device (RCD) should be used.
  • When using a blowtorch, never leave it unattended. Have an extinguisher or a bucket of water standing by.
  • Check you have the correct tools for the job.
  • Ensure that children and pets are safe, with obstructions removed from your workplace.
  • Switch off electrical tools at the mains before making checks or repairs.
  • Always uncoil electrical extension cables fully. Never use multi-way adapters when working with high amperage tools.
  • Always get gas appliances repaired by an approved contractor.
  • Open windows and doors for ventilation when using adhesives and flammable liquids, always making sure that no naked flames or power tools are close by.
  • Take expert advice if you’re doing something for the first time - many DIY superstores offer such a service.