Renting or Sharing
If you live in rented accommodation or share with other people, there's a higher chance you could have a fire.
If you do both, the chances are higher still.
There are various reasons for this. It's partly because a greater proportion of young people rent and share - and young people are generally at a higher risk of fire.
It's partly because rented accommodation isn't always well maintained.
This section of the site is all about what you can do to reduce fire risks. And still enjoy yourself.
- Don't smoke in bed.
- Don't smoke if you're sitting comfortably and you're sleepy, drunk or likely to pass out for any other reason.
- Don't leave a cigarette burning in an ashtray. It can fall out onto the carpet.
- Make double sure all cigarettes are out before you go to bed - wet the butts to make sure. Tip the ashtray into a metal bin, and put it outside.
- Put candles in a holder that won't fall over or burn.
- Put night lights or tea lights on a heat resistant surface. They get hot enough to melt plastic.
- Don't leave candles burning when you go out of the room.
- Make sure they're completely extinguished.
Chip pans and deep frying
- Don't fill the pan more than a third full of oil.
- If the oil starts to smoke don't put food in - leave the pan to cool.
- Make sure the food you put in is dry.
- The kitchen is probably the most dangerous room in the house, even if you don't have a deep fryer.
- Never leave a saucepan on the heat if you get called away.
- Don't let flexes go near the cooker top.
- Keep the top of the cooker clean.
- Keep the toaster away from curtains and wires, and clean it out regularly.
Heaters and fires
- Don't sit or dry clothes closer than a metre (three feet) away.
- Don't put a portable heater where it can be knocked over.
- Don't put anything on top of heaters.
- Be careful not to overload sockets. Only use bar adaptors, and don't plug an adaptor into an adaptor.
- Don't mend cables with insulating tape.
- Turn electrical appliances off at the wall when you're not using them.
- If your furniture was made before 1988 then it won't be heat-resistant. It can be set alight easily and produces clouds of toxic smoke.
- Check the label.
What You Should Do
Fit a smoke alarm
Don't rely on your landlord to provide this basic protection. Smoke alarms cost as little as £5. They wake you up before you die from breathing in smoke. It's stupid not to have one.
You should have at least one per floor. Put one in the common areas of a building with several flats, as well as one in your living area.
Choosing fire safety equipment
Fire safety equipment such as an extinguisher or fire blanket can be helpful in an emergency or perhaps because you live in a remote place, but it is important to know how and when to use it.
Always read the manufacturer’s instructions before using equipment and only tackle small fires which are in their early stages and have not started to spread.
If you're not sure what to do, don't take risks - call the Fire and Rescue Service.
Spend a few minutes thinking about how you'd get out. What would you do if your main escape route was blocked? Would everyone know what to do? Make sure you know the basic procedure for surviving with a fire - see what if there's a fire.
It might be an idea to pin up the basic plan on the wall, especially if people often drop in or come to stay.
Know where the keys are kept
You need to be able to find the door or window keys in a hurry. Agree with everyone you live with where they are going to be kept, and keep them there.
Keep the escape route clear
The best escape route is your normal way in and out of your home. Choose a second escape route, in case the first one is blocked by fire. Keep both routes clear of obstructions.
- Turn off electrical appliances
- Check the cooker's off
- Turn heaters off
- Check all cigarettes are completely out
- Close interior doors - they slow down fires
What To Do If There's a Fire
- Learn the basic guidelines.
- Tell everyone in your house or in the building (unless it's block of flats). Shout and bang on people's doors
- Get out - don't try and grab things that matter to you.
- Don't investigate the fire.
- Call 999.
- Don't go back in for anything - the fire fighters can do it quicker and more effectively.
If you can't get out of the door
- Go out of a window if you're on the ground or first floor.
- Throw bedding, etc, down to cushion your fall, and hang at arm's length before dropping.
If you can't get out at all
- Get everyone into one room.
- Shut the door and put clothes, bedding, etc, round the bottom of it.
- Open the window and call for help.