Preventing fire hazards: Essential tips and advice for your home

Aviva Home Insurance

Fire hazards in the home are a serious concern that can lead to devastating consequences if not properly managed. Preventing these hazards is essential for ensuring the safety and security of your home and loved ones.

We’ve put together some essential tips and advice for reducing the risk of fire in your home, inspired by the findings of a recent survey conducted by Aviva.

Phone charger home safety

1. Be mindful of charging practices

Our recent survey revealed that 11% of Irish people, including a staggering 45% of those aged 18 to 24, charge their phones under their pillows while they sleep. This practice can lead to overheating and potentially cause fires, especially if the phone is covered by blankets or pillows. Even charging on a bedside locker or the floor is not without risks. Phones can overheat or short-circuit, igniting nearby flammable materials like curtains or bedding.

Tip: Always charge your phone in a safe, open area away from flammable materials. Consider charging it in a different room or on a non-flammable surface.

2. Close internal doors at night

Less than half (48%) of our survey respondents consistently close internal doors before going to bed. Closing doors at night is a simple but effective way to prevent the spread of fire should one break out.

Tip: Try to get into the routine of checking and closing all internal doors before you go to sleep. This simple step can significantly slow down the spread of fire and smoke, buying precious time for evacuation.

3. Test your fire alarms

Detection is as crucial as prevention. Smoke alarms are essential tools in early fire detection, allowing for prompt action and evacuation.

Tip: Ensure that your home is equipped with working smoke alarms that are loud enough to be heard in all rooms. Regularly test them to ensure they are always functioning correctly.

4. Check your electrical appliances

Faulty electrical appliances are a common cause of home fires. Regularly inspect the condition of your electrical devices, looking for frayed wires, signs of overheating and overloaded circuits.

Tip: If in doubt about an appliance, always ask an expert. You can find more fire protection advice on the Health and Safety Authority’s website.

5. Ensure safe cooking practices

Never leave cooking unattended, as most fires start when food is left cooking without supervision. Ensure flammable items such as oven mitts, utensils and food packaging are kept well away from the hob and oven.

Tip: Keep a fire blanket within easy reach in your kitchen, as these are designed to extinguish small fires. They can be purchased from any good hardware store.

Gillian Devereaux, Major & Complex Loss Adjuster at Aviva, says that more needs to be done to educate people in fire safety practices in the homes across Ireland, particularly when it comes to mobile phones. “There is a real need for ongoing public education aimed at promoting fire safety awareness. We would all do well to remember the three Golden Rules to make sure that we are kept safe from fire: Prevention, Detection, and Evacuation.”

Fireplaces and fires are a great way to bring warmth into your home, but make sure you manage them safely with our basic fire safety measures.

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