Safe as houses: Could you make your home safer?


Safe as houses: Could you make your home safer?

Safety starts at home, so the old saying goes, but it seems some people may not be doing enough to keep their property and those who live in it safe.

A new survey* conducted for us has revealed that just half of respondents say they have a carbon monoxide alarm – and more than one in 20 don’t have a smoke alarm. But how important is it to take these precautions really?

Getting a head start

According to the London Fire Brigade, the answer to that question is ‘very’. The emergency service points out that smoke alarms can alert you to a problem early, which may give you a valuable head start getting out of your home if it’s ablaze. Yes, smoke alarms can be annoying when they go off every time you decide to indulge in a fry-up, but they really could save your life one day.

Carbon monoxide detectors are even less common in UK homes, with fewer than half of survey respondents saying they have one. Yet this deadly gas could pose as much of a risk as fire – and if you don’t have an alarm, it’s almost impossible to detect it. Carbon monoxide is without odour, taste and colour and can cause an illness with symptoms similar to flu, so the sufferer may not realise immediately what the problem is. A leak in the home can quickly result in fatalities.

Avoiding disaster

While functional alarms can quickly alert you in the event of an unfolding disaster like a fire or gas leak, the best course of action is to take every precaution against something like this happening in the first place. And yet Brits may not be being as vigilant as they could be.

Of those survey respondents who have gas appliances at home, nearly one in 10 admitted they had never had the items checked by a qualified professional. A third of respondents with electrical appliances said the same.

Be prepared

If you have gas or electrical appliances in the home, getting them checked over once a year can provide you with peace of mind that not only are they in a safe working order but also that they are unlikely to break down in the near future. While homeowners can arrange to have these checks carried out themselves, tenants of rental properties can request that their landlord or letting agent organises to have the check done.

In return for being cautious, you have a greater chance of ensuring that your home – and everything in it – stays safe.

*OnePoll questioned a nationally representative sample of 2,000 adults aged 18 and over between 12th August and 23rd August 2014, of whom 630 were Scottish.