House fires can be both costly and devasting, claiming many lives every year in what could have been unavoidable scenarios. From the misuse of appliances to unextinguished cigarettes, there are many potential risks that you should know about. There are measures you can take to ensure y9our home or business is fire safe, but you need to know what the risks are before you can protect against them. Here are the most common causes of fire:
- Cooking Equipment
When pots and pans are left unattended, they can easily overheat and catch fire. Always remain in the room when you are cooking, but if you must leave, have someone watch the cooking for you.
You should never smoke in the bedroom. A cigarette that is not put out properly can stay lit for several hours and if it comes into contact with flammable materials such as bedding or furniture, a fire will quickly spread. Some people have fallen asleep while smoking in bed and most fatalities through fire occur in the living room or bedroom.
Portable heaters should be kept at least 1m away from any clothing, people, laundry, curtains or furniture. For homes with a furnace, this should be safety checked annually.
- Electrical Equipment
If an electrical appliance becomes damaged, faulty or has a frayed chord, it can become a fire risk. Power points that are overloaded are also a fire risk. Make sure all your appliance chords are in good order and that you are not overloading any power points in your home or business. Contact a Fire Risk Assessor Gloucester for an assessment of your business premises.
Candles are an attractive decoration but if not attended to properly can become a fire hazard. They can quickly cause a fire if they left unattended or placed too close to flammable materials. Keep candles away from curtains, books and clothing and always blow it out before leaving the room.
When children are left access to matches for example, sometimes curiosity can get the better of them. Lighters and matches should always be kept away from the reach of children. Fires can spread alarmingly quickly so talk to your children about the importance of not playing with fire, plan an escape route from the house if a fire ever breaks out and install smoke alarms in the bedrooms.
If your property has inadequate wiring, it could be a potential fire hazard. If you notice the following things, it could be a sign of bad wiring:
Lights dim when using another appliance
Fuses blow or trip often
To use one appliance, you must switch another one off first
Call a registered electrician to examine the property as soon as possible.
- Flammable Liquids
Items stored in sheds and garages can also pose a fire risk. Liquids that are flammable include petrol, methylated spirits and kerosene. Always store such items with extreme care and never near a heat source.
Shades and fittings that sit close to a lightbulb can become a fire risk. Look around your home and check all lamp shades. Lamps can also be risky if they can be knocked over.