Image shows a black background with red flames in the bottom left corner and the words "fire Safety" in white llettering

Fire Safety

Did you know that there are over 27,000 house fires every year in the UK?

And that there were 321 fatalities as the result of a house fire last year?

The most common cause of a house fire is cooking appliances; accounting for 44% of these. Candles, matches, smoking apparatus, tumble driers and overloaded plug sockets are also leading causes.

Our customers’ safety in their homes is our biggest priority and with that in mind, we wanted to remind you of some key fire safety points to ensure that you and your family stay safe.

Smoke Alarms

One of the most effective ways to protect you and your loved ones is to have a working smoke alarm. You’re more than twice as likely to die in a home fire if your property doesn’t have a working smoke alarm

We’re legally obliged to provide our customers with a smoke alarm and ensure it’s properly installed. We also test them annually. However, it then becomes their responsibility to ensure it’s working. Smoke alarms should be tested every week to ensure the battery and the alarm are working. Fire England advise how to check and maintain a smoke alarm here.

Further advice

Image shows a plug socket with three individual plugs inserted into it. There is a red cross with the words "Tip Tip Don't Overload£ at the top and bottom of the plug image

Fires can happen anywhere and at any time. However, by following the below advice, you can minimise the risk of a fire in your property:

  • Don’t overload sockets. Limit each socket to one plug only and ensure you follow the safety instructions on any extension cable you use
  • Keep clothing, textiles and other items away from heaters and don’t use heaters for drying clothes.
  • Never attempt to fix faulty electrics by yourself. Report an issue to us if you’re a Stoke-on-Tent City Council customer or contact a qualified electrician.
  • Make sure cigarettes are put out properly after you have finished with them.
  • Be careful with candles and tealights. Don’t put them on or near anything which could burn or catch fire, such as curtains or a wooden table.
  • Never leave a candle or tealight unattended. Always ensure you put these out before leaving a room.
  • Store electric blankets flat, rolled up or loosely folded to ensure no damage to the internal wiring.
  • Ensure you unplug your electric blankets before you go to sleep (unless it has a thermostat and is designed for all-night use).
  • Don’t buy or use a second-hand electric blanket and always follow the manufacturers’ instructions.

Plan your Escape

Having a play in place should you have a fire in your property could make the difference between surviving a fire and fatal consequences.

Ensure that you have an escape plan in place and that everyone in your home knows this. Try the route out from a number of rooms to ensure that if a fire breaks out, you have a way to escape regardless of where you are in the home.

Try and close doors as these will slow the spread of a fire, and ensure that everyone knows where the keys to windows and doors are located.

If you live in a high-rise building, make sure you know where the fire exits and alarms are. Count how many doors you have to go through to get outside. Smoke could make it hard to see and it’s easy to get disorientated. Knowing that there are, for example, three doors between your door and outside could help you find your way.

If a fire breaks out

Firstly, try not to panic. Stay calm and focused.

Then:

  • Tell everyone in the house. Ensure they stay calm too.
  • Use that pre-planned escape route.
  • Remember that smoke rises, so try to stay as low to the ground as you can.
  • Don’t stop to collect any valuables or possessions.
  • If it’s possible to safely close the door where the fire is located, do that. This will slow the spread of the fire. Close every door you can behind you.
  • Before you open a closed door, touch it with the back of your hand. Do not open it if the door is warm or hot. This means there is fire on the other side.
  • Find somewhere safe to wait for the Fire Service.
  • Never go back into the building – this not only puts you in extreme danger but also gives the Fire Service more work. If someone else is still in the building, give the Fire Service details and let them do their jobs.

Local advice

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service has a wealth of information aimed at keeping you safe in your home, business, and when you’re out and about. Check it all out at this link: Safety at home (staffordshirefire.gov.uk)

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