Be Alert to These Common Hazards in Homes and Businesses

Fire kills around 300 people every year in the UK. Being aware of common hazards could save your life and those of your loved ones.

The UK has a fire safety record that is the envy of the western world. On a per capita level, there are far fewer fire-related fatalities than in the USA, Canada and most other nations. However, there are still around 300 deaths every year – that’s one person being killed in a fire almost every day.

Part of the reason that this country has such a strong record, not only in fire prevention, but in various other areas of personal health and safety, is the attitude of never resting on our laurels. 300 deaths per year is still too many – what can we do to reduce this number even further?

Being aware of the following five hazards will help you and your family to avoid becoming another statistic.

1) Faulty smoke detectors

We hear it time and again. Check your smoke detectors. But the truth be told, most of us have had occasions of laziness when we have not got around to replacing batteries. Just think for a moment – when did you actually last check yours?

Last year, more than 100 of those 300 deaths occurred where there was no smoke detector present. It won’t stop the fire happening, but it will give you and your loved ones time to get to safety.

2) Dodgy electrics

We have more electrical gadgets than ever, and they all need charging up. Misuse of electrical equipment caused more than 10,000 fires in 2015-16. Common causes included overloaded socket outlets using one or more trailing sockets, damaged or frayed cables and leaving phone chargers plugged in overnight. The latter is particularly dangerous when you are using cheap aftermarket chargers.

3) Cooking

Most fires start in the kitchen. We all remember those chip fan fire adverts from years ago, and while fewer of us have deep fat fryers with open lids these days, there are still plenty of fire risks.

In the vast majority of cases, serious fires begin when cooking is left unattended, so the solution is simple. Keep an eye on what is happening at all times.

4) Boiler trouble

You should have your boiler routinely maintained as a matter of course, but things

can still go wrong between services. Keep an eye on the boiler and look out for any tell tale signs that something is amiss. These might include an unusual coloured flame in a gas boiler, strange knocks or rattling noises, black marks appearing or excess condensation forming.

If it doesn’t look right, the chances are it’s not right, so get an expert to take a look.

5) Smoking

There might be fewer smokers around these days, but cigarette ends that have not been properly extinguished still cause a disproportionate amount of fires. A small dose of common sense goes a long way here. For example, always having a little water in the ashtray guarantees that your cigarette has definitely gone out. If you have smokers in the house, double check all ashtrays before bed.