Preventing common fires in your home

Part of fire safety is preventing fires through appliances in your home, from electric blankets to candles. There are lots of steps you can take to prevent fire spreading. Keep reading to find out more...

Plugs and appliances

• Always check that you use the correctly rated plug fuse to prevent appliances from overheating

• Make sure electrical appliances have a British or European safety mark when you buy them

• Try and keep to one plug per socket. Certain appliances, such as washing machines, should have a single plug to themselves, as they require a large amount of power to operate

• An extension lead or adaptor will have a limit to how much electrical load it can take. So be careful not to overload them to reduce the risk of a fire

• Use and maintain appliances in accordance with manufacturer user instructions to prevent them causing a fire

• Check for signs of dangerous or loose wiring such as scorch marks, hot plugs and sockets, fuses that blow or circuit breakers that trip for no obvious reason, or flickering lamps/lights

• Visually check appliance cables and leads and seek advice from a qualified electrician if these appear damaged

• Unplug appliances when you are not using them or when you go to bed at night, it helps to reduce the risk of fire

· Always ensure furniture has the fire-resistant permanent label

Using electric blankets

• Don’t leave electric blankets folded as this damages the internal wiring. Store them flat or rolled up instead

• Unplug blankets before you get into bed, unless it has a thermostat control for safe all-night use

• Do not buy second hand blankets and check regularly for wear and tear

Portable heaters

• Try to secure heaters against a wall to stop them falling over

• Keep them clear from flammable materials such as curtains and furniture and never use them for drying clothes


• Make sure candles are secured in a proper holder and away from materials that may catch fire like curtains

• Ensure candles are fully extinguished when you are finished using them and never leave a candle burning when you go out or go to bed.

• Use a snuffer or a spoon to put out candles, it’s safer than blowing them out as sparks can fly

• Children should never be left alone with candles

Cigarettes, matches and lighters

• Stub cigarettes out properly and dispose of them carefully

• Never smoke in bed

• Use a proper ashtray, never a waste paper basket/bin

• Make sure your ashtray can’t tip over and is made of a material that won’t burn

• Don’t leave a lit cigarette, cigar or pipe lying around. They can easily fall over and start a fire

• Take extra care if you smoke when you’re tired, taking prescription drugs or if you’ve been drinking. You might fall asleep and set something on fire

• Keep matches and lighters out of the reach of children and consider buying child-resistant lighters and match boxes