Know Your Smoke Alarms

Fire AlarmWhen it comes to keeping your family safe from fire, your first line of defense is an effective – and functioning – fire alarm.

Smoke Detectors: Pull Your Finger Out!

As the recent campaign fronted by Julie Walters showed, a smoke detector without a battery is as useful as a bicycle for a haddock. In fact, it’s worse than useless, because it can lull you into a false sense of security. Luckily, the new generation of 10-year battery alarms and mains alarms take away that worry, and they are surprisingly cheap too.

Not all Smoke Alarms are Equal

There are three main types of alarm that can protect you and your home:

1. An ionisation smoke alarm detects fires that burn fast and with flames, such as furniture or fabrics. So, you should place these types of smoke detectors in your lounge and bedrooms, but NOT next to an en-suite bathroom. (Learn why a little later.)

If this alarm alerts you to a fire, the best extinguisher to have handy would be a 2kg domestic multi-rating ABC powder extinguisher.

2. A photoelectrical or optical smoke alarm detects smouldering or slow-burning fires that give off smoke and ash, rather than burst into flames. This is the best type of alarm to have near a kitchen or bathroom door, as they are not set off by steam or cooking particles. Place them in your hallway or landing, or anywhere near a bathroom door.

Again, make sure you also have easy access to a domestic-sized fire extinguisher upstairs, to save precious seconds running downstairs to fetch one.

3. A mains heat alarm only activates if the temperature rises above 57 degrees C (135 degrees F), so they are ideal for use in your kitchen. They are ideal as they won’t go off every time you fry or overcook a cake, but will alert you to a more serious incident.

Your kitchen fire safety kit should consist of at least a wall-mounted fire blanket and a multi-rated domestic fire extinguisher. If you have a lot of electrical equipment in your kitchen, you might like to also consider a CO2 fire extinguisher, to minimise damage to your expensive fridge or mixer!

Tackling Home Fires with a Fire Extinguisher

When your smoke detector alerts you and your family to a fire, always get the family outside first. If you consider the fire to be small enough to tackle with your fire extinguisher, do so, but don’t be a hero.

If in doubt, always get out, stay out and call the Fire Brigade.

Fire Safety In Your Kitchen

Fire BlanketSo, you’ve got 10 year battery smoke alarms on the ceilings and a small fire extinguisher on each floor of your home. So, that’s you sorted, right?

Wrong! The US National Fire Protection Association discovered that in the past 10 years, more than 15 percent of all residential fire deaths, more than 29 percent of all injuries and approximately 30 percent of all residential fires were the direct result of kitchen fires. In the UK, 376 people died in domestic fires in 2005, and over 11,500 people were injured.

Protect Your Kitchen, Protect Your Home

Kitchen fire safety remains a concern for UK authorities. The latest Code of Practice BS 5839-6:2004 recommends a heat alarm in every Kitchen, and new Building regulations require new homes to have mains operated alarms. Yet, there is no requirement to fit any fire detection alarms in your existing kitchen.

Fire Safety: Kit Out Your Kitchen

Providing fire safety for your kitchen is really easy – and remarkably cost-efficient too, with just three steps to fire safety.

1. Feel the Heat


If you love to cook, you’ll know how a kitchen can quickly fill with steam, or hazy smoke from that lovely sizzling steak. Normal smoke alarms would be going crazy by now, which is why most new kitchen are fitted with a heat alarm instead.

A heat alarm only sounds when the temperature rises above 57 degrees C (135 degrees F), the temperature of a fire rather than just cooking.

2. Smother with Love

A fire blanket is just what you need to smother small fat fires in a frying pan, for example. Fire blankets work by excluding air from the fire, and extinguishing it.

If a pan catches fire, turn off the heat and immediately throw the blanket completely over the pan.


3. Fight the Fire

Your third essential item of kitchen fire safety kit is a 2k domestic fire extinguisher, such as an ABC multi-rated power extinguisher. This extinguisher is ideal for tackling fires NOT involving fats or electrics, such as a burning tea-towel or paper packaging.

Mount your handy fire extinguisher on a wall, so it’s easy to grab and use if and when you need it. If you have expensive electrical equipment in your kitchen, invest in a CO2 fire extinguisher as well, which will reduce any potential damage when sued on or near your electrical appliances.

So, keep safe in your kitchen this year, and may the only smoke be from your partner burning the toast – again.

Summer Fire Home Safety

Fire home safety is something that should be thought about all year round. However, when it comes to summer time people can often get a little negligent with their safety. Longer nights, warmer days and a relaxed and fun atmosphere can all lead to various accidents occurring and one of those is the risk of a fire.

Why the Summer Months Pose a Bigger Threat

When summer comes you are likely to want to enjoy every moment of sun that you are given. This means that BBQ’s and picnics out there in garden are often enjoyed all throughout summer.

Now a BBQ can be fun; especially if you invite plenty of people! But there is also a risk that a fire could break out; especially if alcohol is involved. So you need to ensure that you follow the right summer fire home safety guidelines.

  • Some Fire home safety guidelines that you should follow include:
  • Ensure that the BBQ is away from fences and sheds
  • Keep all pets and children away from the BBQ
  • Once all of the food has been cooked, turn off the gas cylinder before the BBQ controls
  • Make sure any guests to the picnic/BBQ do not throw cigarettes on the lawn
  • Be sure to get rid of any glass and bottles in your garden

If you follow these guidelines then you will ensure that you and your guests are as safe as possible.

You may not think that your BBQ could be a potential fire risk, but if not done properly, accidents do happen. By leaving bottles and glass on the lawn for example, the sunlight can cause the lawn to set on fire through the glass.

Also if guests are drinking and they then throw a cigarette onto the garden, which can also start a fire as the lawn will be dry due to the hot summer weather. So it is always better to follow these safety rules in order to have the best possible time at your picnic/BBQ.

Children and Fire Safety

If you have children, or if you are having children around the home throughout summer, you will need to keep a close eye on them. Many times a fire can be started simply because a child has been left unsupervised.

Also, when you are having a BBQ, children can often get too close to the BBQ and it could easily be knocked over. So always keep your children away from the BBQ and never leave them unsupervised in the home either.

It is possible that whilst you are outside, a fire could be started in the home. Perhaps you have left something cooking and due to the heat and perhaps the distraction from friends and family, you have forgotten about it. This can start a fire and you may be blissfully unaware of it until it is too late.

So you really need to ensure that you keep an eye on everything that you are cooking. Also never leave children unattended in the home whilst all of the adults are outside as this is only asking for problems. You can purchase various fire safety home improvements such as smoke detectors which really do prove to be vital if there is ever a fire.

Overall by following simple fire home safety guidelines you can easily enjoy the summer months with friends and family.