Fire & Rescue, Fire Safety

The 3 essential steps you need to take to protect your home from fire

Most fires in the home start accidentally. Taking the time to understand what you can do to stay protected will help keep you, other people and your property safe.

It only takes one accident to start a fire.

That’s what this year’s Fire Kills campaign is focusing on, in collaboration with the Home Office, the National Fire Chiefs Council and local Fire and Rescue Services, the Government-run campaign shares important safety messages to help keep people protected in their homes.

Focused on raising awareness of everyday fire risks that are present in the home, the campaign encourages all householders in England, particularly vulnerable people, to test their smoke alarms regularly.

Here, we share advice on how to protect your home from fire, including where to fit smoke alarms, what to look out for when buying and steps you can take to ensure maximum protection.

1. Purchase certified, trusted smoke alarms

protect your home from fire

The easiest way to protect yourself, your home and others from fire is with working smoke alarms. Make sure you have at least one on every level of your home and test them every week.

If you would prefer a battery-powered smoke alarm, choose from either a ten-year sealed battery which lasts the lifetime of the alarm (as smoke alarms are recommended to be replaced every 10 years) or purchase a smoke alarm with replaceable batteries.

If you live in a large house or over several levels, you could consider mains-powered alarms, powered by your home power supply. They will need to be installed by a qualified electrician.

There is also the option to interlink alarms, as seen with FireAngel’s Pro Connected alarm range, so that when one alarm sounds, they all sound – ensuring the alarm is heard throughout your home.

If you or your family member uses Telecare, you should ensure that the fire detection system is linked to your Telecare systems.

Trusted detection

Another factor to consider when choosing your smoke alarm is ensuring you are buying a reputable, third-party tested device. Look out for one of these symbols on the smoke alarm:

These logos show the smoke alarm has been checked and approved by a registered body and is safe to use.

2. Fit and test your smoke alarms

protect your home from fire

Fit at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home, on the ceiling, in the middle of a room, hallway and landing, so you can hear an alarm throughout your home.

For extra safety, fit smoke alarms in the bedrooms too – this can help protect you while you sleep – and in other rooms where there are fire hazards. For rooms with high humidity, steam or dust (such as your kitchen, garage or loft), a heat alarm is recommended.

It is also advised to install carbon monoxide alarms, which provide protection against carbon monoxide poisoning, close to any fuel burning appliance. Carbon monoxide is referred to as ‘the silent killer’ – you cannot see it, taste it or smell it but poisoning can be fatal and an audible alarm is the only way to detect it.

It’s recommended you test all alarms on a weekly basis, to check both the sensor and the power supply is working. To test, press the button until the alarm sounds. If it doesn’t sound, you need to replace the battery.

If a smoke alarm starts to beep on a regular basis, you need to replace the battery immediately. Never disconnect or take the batteries out of your alarm if it goes off by mistake.

3. Plan your escape route

protect your home from fire

Should a fire occur, it is important you have a pre-planned escape route in place that everyone in your house is aware of. The best route is the normal way in and out of your home, but you should think of a second route in case the first one is blocked.

Take a few minutes to practise your escape plan and review the plan if the layout of your home changes. Rules to remember:

  • Keep door and window keys where everyone can find them
  • Keep exits clear
  • Avoid using lifts and balconies if there is a fire

If you live in a block of flats:

  • Check there is nothing in communal corridors or stairways that could catch fire – like boxes or rubbish
  • Count how many doors you need to go through to reach the stairs – it is easy to get confused in smoke
  • Make sure doors to stairways are not locked
  • Make sure everyone in the building knows where the fire alarm call points, if any
  • Ensure you have working smoke alarms in your home, even if there is a warning system in your block

Keep your home protected from fire

Follow these important steps to protect your home from a fire and make sure you fit certified alarms, testing them regularly.

If would like more tailored advice to your property’s fire risk, your local fire and rescue service can provide a free home fire safety visit. This provides expert fire safety advice, including advice on how to escape if there is a fire and how to prevent a fire in your home.

Find your local fire and rescue service here.