In 2006, there were 2,454 fires in dwellings across Wales.
Fires can start suddenly and spread quickly, damaging your home and possessions and putting lives in danger.
Fires are caused in a variety of ways, but there are a few simple precautions you can take to prevent them starting. The most effective way of saving life and injury in the event of a fire is to have a smoke alarm fitted on each floor of the house and check it weekly. One that is wired into the mains is best or one with a ten year battery.
Other safety advice:
- Keep matches and lighters out of sight and reach of children.
- Put out and dispose of cigarettes properly.
- Keep all fires and heaters well-guarded, especially open ones.
- An adequate guard covers the whole fireplace or area around the fire – not just the fire itself. When children are around, use one with side clips that fix into fixed wall brackets.
- If you have a coal fire, use a spark guard overnight.
- Keep portable heaters and candles away from furniture and curtains.
- Don’t dry or air clothes over or near the fire or cooker.
- Have your electric blanket checked regularly.
- Do not buy furniture that does not have the fire resistant label – it could
easily catch fire.
- Don’t overload electric sockets.
- For a free home fire safety check from your local Fire and Rescue Service please call 0800 169 1234 or visit www.fireflash.org (external link)
You are almost three times more likely to be killed in a fire that starts in the night so have a good night time routine:
- Make sure all cigarettes are properly put out.
- Close all doors, switch off and unplug all appliances except those designed to be left on such as DVD or fridges.
- Don’t leave the TV or other electrical appliances on standby. Always switch them off and unplug when not in use.
- If you need to keep a child’s bedroom door open, close the doors to the lounge and kitchen.
- Don’t smoke in bed.
- Have an escape route planned, and practise it, in case of fire, so that everyone knows how to get out safely. Remember you may have to do it in the dark.
- Take special care if you are tired or have been drinking.
- Turn off and unplug your electric blanket when in bed unless it is designed to be left on overnight.
A significant cause of death from fires in Wales is cooking while under the influence of alcohol. For safe cooking:
- Don’t cook if you have been drinking – if you fancy a few chips head for a chip shop, it’s much safer.
- Never leave cooking unattended.
- Always keep an eye on the pan when deep fat frying. The pan should be no more than one third full of oil. Better still buy a thermostatically controlled deep fat fryer or use oven chips.
- Don’t leave the washing machine, dishwasher or tumble dryer on at night or while you are out.
- Keep the oven, hob, toaster and grill clean – a build up of fat, crumbs and grease can easily catch fire.
- Store flammable items such as aerosols, adhesives, oil, paraffin or petrol away from children and where they cannot come into direct contact with heat or sunlight.
Celebrate in safety – decorative lights and candles pose a real threat so:
- Don’t overload electric sockets with extra Christmas lights.
- If you need more plugs use a ‘bar type’ adaptor with a fuse.
- Extinguish candles properly and never leave unattended.
- Don’t go out and leave Christmas lights or candles burning. Check they are out before you go out and before you go to bed.
- If you have old lights, seriously consider buying new ones that will meet much higher safety standards.
- Do not use lights outdoors unless specially made for such use.
Remember – do not put yourself at risk by tackling a blaze. Get out, stay out and call the fire service. For a free home safety check and free smoke alarms call your local fire service.