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Property Protection: Top Tips for Keeping Your Home Safe

Thousands of accidental house fires happen every year in the UK, resulting in casualties and even a handful of fatalities. Whilst it can be all too easy to dismiss this fact thinking that it will never happen to you, why take that chance?

All it takes is implementing a few simple tips to boost your home’s security and reduce the risk of a fire breaking out at your residence. Keep yourself and your family safe and keep reading on as we discuss our top home safety tips.

Home Security Tips

Install a Smoke Detector

The first step to protecting your home involves installing a smoke detector. In fact, any time you move home this should be one of your top priorities. Smoke alarms are readily available and affordable, with there being a range of alarms to choose from.

For example, you could choose to buy a standard battery powered alarm, or you could opt for wired or even app-enabled systems.

As their name suggests, smoke detectors detect when there is an excessive amount of smoke in your home and will sound an alarm to warn you that this could be the result of a potential fire, allowing you to take the necessary course of action with plenty of warning.

It’s advised that you should have one of these detectors fitted on each level of your property, ideally not secured in rooms where smoke or steam is likely to set it off in a non-emergency situation (i.e. your bathroom or kitchen). They are best placed in the middle of the ceiling.

Not only should you install an alarm, but it’s crucial that you regularly test it. The best practice is to test your alarm once a week, but you should be doing this at least once a month as a minimum. If you use a battery operated alarm, then the batteries should be changed at least once a year, or more frequently if they run out - which you will know by carrying out the necessary testing. Afterall, a broken or powerless alarm is no better than no alarm at all.

Install a Carbon Monoxide Detector

Just as it’s important to install a smoke detector, it’s just as wise to install a carbon monoxide detector - especially if you have a gas cooker, gas boiler and/or open fire in your home.

Carbon monoxide is a silent killer, one that should be taken very seriously. If there is a carbon monoxide leak or buildup in your home, then you can get carbon monoxide poisoning, which is characterised by the following symptoms:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Feeling or being sick
  • Feeling weak
  • Confusion
  • Chest and muscle pain
  • Shortness of breath
The reason carbon monoxide is known as a silent killer is because it’s an invisible, odourless gas - hence why we strongly suggest you install a carbon monoxide alarm, as the repercussions could otherwise prove fatal.

In the event that you install one of these alarms and it goes off, then stop using appliances that you think could be the cause, open windows and doors to let fresh air in, go outside and seek medical advice as soon as possible, not returning indoors until you’ve done so. Not only does carbon monoxide pose a health risk, but it can also pose a fire risk, so this last step is especially important.

Invest in Fire Safety Equipment

Whilst it’s always best to wait for the fire brigade and leave them to deal with a fire that breaks out in your home, there is some equipment that you can keep to help you if a fire breaks out that is small and containable.

The first is a fire blanket. This is a fire safety blanket made out of a flame retardant woven fabric, designed to help extinguish small starting fires. Fire blankets can be used in numerous ways, for example they can be placed over small fires to extinguish them, they can be wrapped around someone who’s on fire or they can be worn as a protective cloak when escaping a building after a fire has broken out.

The next piece of equipment is a home fire extinguisher. Although these are typically found in public or commercial premises, you can get small fire extinguishers suitable for use in the home. The best extinguisher to buy for home use is a dry powder extinguisher (these are the extinguishers with a blue label), since this is the most versatile extinguisher and is able to extinguish all types of fire other than Class F fires (those started by cooking oils).

The final piece of equipment we think you should have in your fire safety arsenal is a fire escape ladder. One thing can be said about all fires: they are unpredictable. Whilst a fire may start off small, depending on the circumstances, it can easily and quickly spread. In the worst case scenarios, a fire can block your escape route, meaning your only option could be to escape from an upstairs window.

Fire escape ladders are ideal in this situation, since there may be nothing between you and the ground from the window that you need to escape from. These ladders are easily storable, as they fold up compactly, but are still quick and easy to open in an emergency, hooking securely over your window ledge while the ladder hangs outside the window and allows you and your family to safely exit.

Establish an Escape Route

Granted, if a fire breaks out in your home, you can’t predict where it may happen. With that said, you should still determine a fire escape route that is most likely to remain clear in the event that a fire does start. Establish an escape route and ensure that everyone in your household is aware of this.

It’s also important to keep your chosen exit clear of obstructions at all times, so that you can easily escape in any situation where this is needed. We recommend ensuring that all exits in your home are kept clear for this very reason - if a fire does occur and it’s blocking your chosen escape exit, then you will need to use an alternative, so it’s best to also establish a plan B and even a plan C.

Avoid Fire Risks

So far, all of our tips are related more to keeping yourself safe after a fire has broken out, but what about preventative measures? Doing what you can to avoid potential fire hazards is crucial, and there are a number of things to keep in mind that are common causes of a fire in homes.

Three of the most common causes include candles, sockets and cooking. If you light candles in your home, always make sure to place them on a heat proof surface away from any flammable materials (e.g. curtains) and never leave them unattended in a room. Similarly, always remember to blow candles out before you leave your home or go to bed.

Next, sockets. We’re well aware that many people use extension sockets and cables to plug in multiple devices at once, which is understandably convenient when socket placement or availability in your home isn’t. However, we advise not to overload sockets where possible.

Too many plugs in one socket can overheat, which can spark a fire, so it’s recommended to keep to one plug per socket. It’s just as important to make sure that you don’t use poorly wired or old plugs, sockets or cables, as this can also result in the onset of an electrical fire.

Lastly, cooking. Never leave food you are cooking unattended, and if you do need to be called away for whatever reason, make sure to either turn the heat right down or take your pan(s) off the heat completely. It’s especially important to take care when cooking with hot oil, as this is a major fire risk and cooking oil fires are particularly dangerous as they cannot be easily put out.

Fire Alarm Installations & More with Snowdonia Fire Protection

If you’re looking to have a domestic alarm system installed in your home or think you would benefit from owning a fire extinguisher, then look to us here at Snowdonia Fire Protection.

We combine almost 50 years of experience with the latest technologies, ensuring that both our domestic and commercial fire alarm systems meet the stringent requirements outlined by the British Standards Institution. As for extinguishers, our team can offer maintenance reminders and arrange a convenient time with you for comprehensive fire extinguisher servicing, as they require annually.

For more information on our services or advice on fire safety in your home, then don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today.

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