We all remember fire drills at school, and the chances are they're held regularly at your workplace too (if not, you might want to nudge your boss about our services!).
Fire drills are important because they fix in our minds the best means of escape if a building needs to be evacuated. In the event of fire, a speedy escape is vital. It can take less than 30 seconds for a small flame to become a major fire, and only a matter of minutes for a house to fill with poisonous black smoke.
Latest government figures show that of the 74,118 primary fires in England in 2017-2018, the greatest number – almost 31,000 – were in domestic dwellings. Cooking appliances were the source of ignition in 48% of those accidental dwelling fires, with electrical distribution and appliances the next most common source (37%).
Clearly it makes sense to put in place a fire safety plan for your home. To help keep you and your loved ones safe, follow Allsaved's five Ps - Prepare, Plan, Prevent, Practice and Protect.
Prepare – fit smoke alarms
You are two times more likely to die in a fire at home if you don't have a working smoke alarm. Installing one is a great start, but you also need to make sure you test it monthly to protect against failure.
You should have at least one smoke alarm fitted on every level of your home. If possible, invest in a sealed battery smoke alarm – it will last around ten years and will be more cost effective in the long run than constantly having to replace batteries.
It's also possible to have smoke alarms powered by the mains; in fact, government statistics show that mains-powered alarms are far less likely to fail. Speak to us about our domestic electrical services and we would be happy to offer a competitive quote. As well as fitting mains-powered smoke alarms, we can also carry out PAT testing to check your electrical appliances and devices are safe.
Plan – have an escape route
Plan the most practical escape route by walking through your home and identifying the best possible ways to exit the property. Ideally you should visit each room to work out where the exits are and what your route out would be. Consider creating an escape grid by drawing a floorplan of your home that includes windows and doors and then plotting all possible routes.
Make sure you agree on a meeting point outside the property, which should be in front of your home. Keep keys for windows and doors nearby so you can access them easily and get out quickly. Make sure your escape routes stay clear and clutter free.
Prevent – create a bedtime routine
Unless it's designed to stay on, like a fridge or freezer, make sure any electrical appliances are switched off before you go to bed, especially gadgets like portable heaters or hair straighteners. Check the cooker and hob are not on, candles are extinguished, and any open fires are protected with a sturdy fire guard. Avoid using washing machines or tumble dryers overnight.
Smokers need to be especially cautious. Double check that cigarettes and cigars are always properly put out. Smokers' materials ignited 7% of accidental dwelling fires according to 2017/2018 figures, yet accounted for 20% of fire-related fatalities.
Finally, close all internal doors – it will help to prevent fire from spreading.
Practise – every second counts
It's no good preparing and putting a plan in place if you don't practise it. Every second counts when it comes to escaping a fire so the whole household should be fully aware of what to do if a fire breaks out. Practise will also help to avoid panic should the worst happen.
If children or those with disabilities or limited mobility live with you, make sure you take the time to ensure they understand what to do and who in the household will be responsible for helping them in an emergency.
Try to practise your fire plan every month to keep it fresh and allow for any changes that might need to be made.
Protect – if the worst happens
If a fire does break out in your home and your escape routes are blocked, make sure you know how to protect yourself until help arrives.
Ideally you should try to get everyone into one room that has a window and a phone. Block the bottom of the door with bedding or towels to keep smoke out and call the emergency services.
For anyone living in a high level building or apartment block, slightly different rules will apply and you should make yourself familiar with the property's fire plan and available exits. In the event of fire, you should avoid using lifts and balconies.
Contact Allsaved for domestic fire protection advice
For detailed guidance and practical help with fire protection and electrical safety in the home, don't hesitate to get in touch. We would be happy to carry out a residential risk assessment at a very competitive rate, and will follow up with advice on any actions that need to be taken. We look forward to hearing from you - and in the meantime, make a note of our five Ps and start putting your plan into practice!