A roaring fire in the evenings; it’s a classic scene of home life. As picturesque as it is, fire inherently comes with its risks. From fireplaces to cookers and portable heaters, fire safety should be at the front of your mind at all times. Keeping your house safe with a fully functioning fire alarm is your first line of defence (remember to test your alarm regularly). In this guide, we’ll look at some of the common causes of household fires and how to prevent them.

Most common causes of house fires – and how to prevent them

Keeping on top of potential fire hazards will help you protect your home from the worst. We’ve put together a list of the most common fire risks you’ll find around your house and how to keep them under control.

1. Overloaded plug sockets

It’s all too easy to find yourself plugging more and more outlets in to one plug socket. However, this is a real fire risk. Thankfully, reducing this risk is simple. Try your best not to overload your plug sockets where you can. Unplug unused electricals. You’ll also want to regularly check your plug sockets to make sure everything looks normal. If you see anything out of the ordinary, get a professional in to check it over and fix the problem.

2. Cooking equipment

Cooking up a storm in the kitchen? Whether you’re a connoisseur of gourmet food, or just chucking a couple of jacket potatoes in the oven, there’s an inherent fire risk when it comes to cooking.

Common causes of fires in the kitchen include pots and pans overheating and appliances being left unattended. The saying goes “a watched pot never boils” but it does prevent fires. Always keep an eye on the kitchen while you’re cooking. It’s also worth making sure you have a heat blanket and extinguisher on hand for when things get too hot in the kitchen.

3. Electrical items on charge

In the modern age, it feels like everything needs to be charged: phones, watches, games consoles. However, you’ve probably noticed once or twice that, after prolonged used, that your phone has started to feel a bit hot. If left unattended, this can pose a fire risk. It’s best to ensure that you only charge your electrical items when you’re at home, preferably in the same room. You’ll also want to make sure there’s adequate ventilation for your electricals as they charge. And, finally, make sure you use trusted, branded chargers and products from reputable suppliers.

4. Heating equipment

Portable heaters and radiators are a great way to keep the home warm, but they also pose their own risks. Although it may be tempting, it’s never advised to use these heaters to dry clothes, this is a major fire risk. It’s worth inspecting these appliances regularly to ensure they are working correctly. This includes bleeding your radiators.

5. Cigarettes and candles

Open flames are one of the most obvious fire risks – and this includes cigarettes and candles. As with cooking equipment, never leave a lit candle unattended. You should also keep naked flames away from curtains and fabrics. If you do smoke, always make sure your smoking materials have been fully extinguished before discarding them. An ashtray outside is your best bet. However, knocking the habit on the head is certainly the best option – if you’re able to.

6. Electrical Equipment

Always purchase any electrical goods from a trusted and reputable supplier. This is the best way to ensure that the products you buy are up to the required safety standard, which will help protect you from potential fire risks.

7. Electrical fires

Electric fires are a great option if you don’t have space for a traditional fireplace. But it’s important to keep on top of these. Electric faults and bad wiring are a common cause of problems with electric fires. So, you’ll want to ensure a professional checks your wiring out from time to time. If you notice something is wrong, make sure you get a professional in to fix this as well – it’s best to leave the DIY alone when it comes to electric fires and any electrical wiring.

Fire safety checklist

This fire safety checklist will help you make sure you’ve got everything in place to avoid a fire, and to help you if the worst should happen.

  • Be prepared – Make sure you have an escape plan prepared in case a fire does occur. Know where your accessible doors are. You should also ensure you know where your fire extinguishers are.
  • Smoke alarms – Ensure you have a smoke alarm fitted, and check them regularly to ensure they’re working correctly.
  • Take care – When cooking, using candles or operating an open flame, make sure you are careful and keep an eye on it.
  • Smoke outside – If you are a smoker, make sure you do it outside and have an ashtray in a safe place.
  • Prevention – Keep flammable and combustible liquids secure and away from any fire hazards.

Adopted From AXA.