Avoiding accidental fires in the home
Causes of accidental fires
There are a variety of things that increase the risk of accidental house fires, and these are especially relevant to people who live alone.
The top causes of accidental fires in the home are:
- cooking or cooking appliances (cookers, ovens, hotplates, grill pans, deep fat fryers, microwaves and toasters)
- electricity supply or other electrical equipment and appliances (plugs, lighting and cables, washing machines, dishwashers and tumble dryers)
- smoking or smoking-related materials (cigarettes, matches and lighters)
Fires from cooking and cooking appliances can be avoided by:
- never leaving cooking unattended
- turning off hobs and ovens when finished cooking
- keeping flammable items such as tea towels and oven gloves away from the cooker
- keeping oven and grill pans free from a build-up of oils and grease, which can easily catch fire
- never throwing water onto an oil-based fire
Fires from electrical equipment can be avoided by:
- never overloading sockets
- never leaving electrical appliances such as dishwashers or washing machines running overnight or when you leave the house
Fires from smoking materials can be avoided by:
- never smoking in bed or when feeling drowsy or tired
- always stubbing cigarettes out fully in an ashtray
‘STOP Fire’ is an easy to remember fire safety tool for everyone to use. It’s an instant checklist focusing on fire safety basics:
- smoke alarms - make sure you have at least one working smoke alarm on every floor
- test weekly - test your smoke alarm weekly or ask someone to check it for you
- obvious fire safety dangers - look out for obvious fire safety dangers, stub out cigarettes, and never leave cooking unattended
- planned escape - have a planned escape, keep access routes clear, close all doors at night and have your keys at the ready
You can find out more about fire safety at the pages below:
Be responsible and protect yourself, your family and your home from fire.
Many people are feeling more isolated as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Think about safely reconnecting with neighbours, family members, and friends who are more at risk from fire, especially those who live alone.
Make sure they have a smoke alarm that they test weekly, that they are aware of the obvious fire dangers in their home, and that they have a fire escape plan if a fire should occur.
Also encourage them to get a free Home Fire Safety Check.
Home Fire Safety Check
Those most at risk from death or injury from accidental fires are:
- people aged 50 or older
- people who have a disability, impaired mobility or a health condition that would affect their ability to be aware of or respond to an emergency in the home
- people who get help from a visiting agency on a regular basis to help with day-to-day tasks
Due to COVID-19, firefighters have changed they way they are carrying out the safety checks.