fire safety in the home 

Domestic Fire Safety

There are many deaths and injuries caused by fire in the home. Modern materials like plastics make fire much more dangerous than it was 50 years ago. Fires start more easily, and can grow to infernos in 2 to 3 minutes. This means that people need protection against fire in their homes, especially the old, young, disabled or vulnerable.

The government has encouraged the installation of smoke alarms for many years, and since 1991, it has been mandatory to fit them in all new dwellings in the UK under Building Regulations.

Is this the answer? Unfortunately it is only a partial solution as can be seen when fire statistics are studied. It is disconcerting to see that even where smoke alarms are fitted, AND WORKING, many fire deaths and injuries still occur.

How then can this be improved?

Smoke alarms can save lives, but if there are insufficient alarms, or they are the wrong type, they will not always achieve the objective.

Domestic sprinklers are the best solution, and offer almost complete safety from fire. In some parts of the world where they have been fitted the results have been dramatic. In America, Scotsdale, Arizona is a prime example of how life and property damage can be reduced to a fraction of the norm.

Even so, it is essential that people are aware of the dangers of fire, and it is important that a fire plan is formulated, and practiced regularly. Your fire plan should take into account how you would get out of your home if the normal route becomes impassable. Everyone in the house should know how to call the fire brigade, and the information to give, such as your address, including the town and County etc.


Fire Plan

It is important that every household has a fire plan. You should know how to get everyone out of the house in case of fire, taking into account various scenarios where a fire could prevent escape by the usual means.

Involve the whole family in this exercise, practice it, and ensure everyone knows exactly what to do. Remember, most people who die in fires are killed by poisonous gasses such as carbon monoxide, which is produced in large quantities in most fires, so ensure all the family are educated to close doors at night.

Ensure you have a telephone in your bedroom. If you are trapped by a fire, you need help quickly.


Domestic fire safety equipment

We can supply many pieces of kit to help you, click the link at the top of the page to see our range of domestic fire safety goods. See our range of domestic fire safety products



Petrol storage at home

Petrol is a highly flammable liquid with a flashpoint of -45 C which means that it will readily evaporate at normal ambient temperatures releasing petrol vapour into the atmosphere. It is this vapour that is dangerous as when mixed with air it becomes violently explosive. Many people underestimate the dangers of petrol and it is often used to set fire to rubbish, bonfires or even barbecues. If you wish to ignite such materials, you should use paraffin as it is much safer - flashpoint between 37 and 65 C. Paraffin will not normally ignite at room temperature unless it is atomised or sprayed, or drawn up through a wick. For barbecues, use fire-lighters or barbecue fire lighting fluid designed specifically for the purpose.

Petrol should be treated with the greatest respect. It is illegal to keep more than 2 metal containers each of a maximum capacity of 10 litres or 2 plastic containers each of a maximum capacity of 5 litres. These limits also apply to any containers kept in a vehicle parked in a garage or on the driveway (but not to the vehicle fuel tank). Containers must be of an approved design and be marked 'Petroleum Spirit, Highly Flammable'. Containers should be kept with the stoppers securely fixed in a secure shed or garage, NOT inside residential properties.

This article by the BBC demonstrates what can happen if petrol is underestimated

Good advice:

  • avoid pouring petrol from one container to another, however if it becomes absolutely necessary use of funnel or pouring spout, and only do it outside well away from sources of ignition;

  • do not smoke;

  • if your clothing is splashed with petrol change it straight away;

  • avoid siphoning petrol or diesel, it can be lethal if swallowed;

  • do not overfill containers, if the container is filled to the top in cold weather, the petrol (or diesel) will expand and could easily rupture the container.

Further advice on the storage of highly flammable liquids is available on the HSE website


Barbecues and BBQ Safety

We received an email from Amy, and we thought the information she sent was very useful so we decided to include the text of the email which speaks for itself:

"My name is Amy and I volunteer at a youth centre with a summer program for kids where we are learning about fire safety when camping, caravanning and barbecuing. Our kids hope to reduce the number of lives lost in fire related incidents each year. We are currently preparing for our annual barbecue picnic when one of the kids, Sam, shared this article with the group:"

Thanks Amy & Sam


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