Your comments help us improve our websiteSend your feedback
How to fireproof your home
Our homes are often the places where we feel the most safe and secure, so it makes sense to put adequate protection in place to keep you and your family from harm. No one likes talking about the possibility of a house fire breaking out, but it’s important to take steps to prevent it from happening.
Fitting smoke alarms
It goes without saying that your home should have at least one smoke alarm in it and preferably two or three if your property has a second level. This is your number one priority as it can alert you and your family should a fire break out in your home, so it really could be a life-saver. It may also provide the early warning you need to alert the fire service, so that the blaze is tackled before it spreads throughout your property.
You may find that your home or contents insurance policy stipulates that you must have smoke alarms fitted in your home in order to make a claim, so this one’s a no-brainer.
Consider purchasing fire extinguishers
This is pretty self-explanatory, but having a couple of fire extinguishers in your home can help to prevent small scale fires from getting completely out of control. But, it’s important to say at this point that you should only try to combat a fire if it is still small scale and you have first called the fire brigade, evacuated everyone from the building and have an open escape route you can use in case you’re unsuccessful. If the fire is spreading rapidly, you should abandon it and escape as quickly as possible – closing any doors behind you.
For fires in the kitchen started by cooking oil, an ABF Foam, Wet Chemical or Water Mist extinguisher is the recommended choice – and fire blankets can also be used to smother the flames and deprive them of oxygen. For the rest of the house, including electrical fires, you may want to invest in a Dry Powder extinguisher as this can be used on most blazes – but don’t use it on a fire started by cooking oils or metals.
Fire resistant furniture and fittings
Where possible, you could consider investing in fire-resistant pieces of furniture. There are more and more furniture retailers that are able to fireproof your purchases by spraying them with certain chemicals. This may cost you a little more to begin with, but the protection it provides could be invaluable. If you’ve already got all your furniture and you don’t plan on replacing it anytime soon, it’s possible to buy fireproofing sprays online and from furniture retailers that you can use to safeguard the furniture in your home. But remember to only buy these products from a reputable seller.
Unfortunately, carpets catch alight rather easily and are usually the starting point for many house fires. There are fire-resistant carpets available in all kinds of colours and patterns, but we all know fitting new carpets can be expensive, so again you may wish to invest in a furniture spray to use on rugs and carpets.
Interior fire doors
In the event of a fire, fireproof doors can be a worthwhile investment. Designed to both dramatically slow down the spread of fire and block smoke passing through to other rooms, these doors provide an extra lifeline and precious time to gather your bearings and evacuate the building.
If you haven’t already, it’s a really good idea to consider upgrading the doors in your home to fireproof alternatives.
A secure safe
Installing a secure safe that withstands fire damage is a good way to keep your most treasured and valuable belongings safe. It’s wise to keep copies of your mortgage contract, title deeds and insurance papers in here, alongside other important documents like your passport and birth certificate. Of course, priceless treasured items like old photo albums and jewellery that perhaps holds important memories is always best stored somewhere like this in case the worst does happen.
You might also be able to avoid paying extra to get your most expensive valuables insured if you have them locked up in a secure safe.
Taking steps to avoid fire
Of course, some of the steps you can take to fireproof your home can be costly, and it may not be practical to implement all of them. That’s why it’s especially important to take preventative steps to avoid a fire breaking out in the first place.
You should never leave a room unattended with a naked flame, especially when you’re cooking or have candles lit. And, it’s best to avoid smoking in your home altogether as this can pose significant risks.
Overloading extension cords with devices can be a trigger for an electrical fire, as can hooking up one extension cable to another. There’s a comprehensive list of simple checks you can take to make sure your electrics aren’t a threat to you or your home on the Electrical Safety First website here.
If you ever notice any sockets that spark or have black burns around them, you should think about getting a qualified electrician to replace them as they may pose a risk.
The London Fire Brigade have a complete guide to fire safety on their website here, including how to act in the face of different fires.