Home Safe From Bad Weather

Easy Ways to Keep Your Home Safe

Did you know, you’re four times more likely to die in a fire in the home if there’s no smoke alarm, whilst on average 40 people a year die as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning. Do you want to put your family at such a risk?

Protect loved ones in your home, by following these important household safety tips…

Gas Safety Starts with the Boiler:

If you’ve got a gas boiler or any gas appliances in your home then you’re at risk from a silent killer, carbon monoxide poisoning.

Carbon monoxide is known as the silent killer as you’re unable to see, taste or smell it, and every year 7 people die from such poisoning due to gas appliances and flues which haven’t been properly installed, maintained or are poorly ventilated. [source: http://www.hse.gov.uk/gas/domestic/co.htm]

To help protect your family from such poisoning, you need to be aware of the symptoms, which are similar to cold and flu symptoms but also include headaches, dizziness, nausea, breathlessness and lack of consciousness. You also need to take preventative steps in your home, including:

  • Making sure all gas appliances are safe and in top condition. This involves having them annually checked and serviced by a Gas Safe registered engineer, and checking the pilot light is lit – this should be a light at all times.
  • Installing carbon monoxide detectors (which come with the EU standard number BS EN 50291) in your home and these should be placed in every room where there is a gas appliance. Carbon monoxide detectors will flash and produce an audible alarm if it detects carbon monoxide.
  • Checking your gas appliances may for any signs of damage or faults, including yellow/orange flames rather than blue ones (except in fuel-efficient fires / flueless appliances), soot or yellow/brown staining around or on appliances, increased condensation inside windows.
  • Making sure there’s enough ventilation for your gas appliances, allowing them to burn correctly and make sure you’re not blocking any air vents which provide an air supply to your gas appliances.

It is also worth noting that since October 1st, 2015 it has been a legal requirement for private landlords to fit carbon monoxide alarms in rooms where there is a solid gas appliance. [source: http://www.ageuk.org.uk/home-and-care/home-safety-and-security/gas-and-fire-safety-at-home/]

Keep Your Electrics Safe and Protect Your Family:

Every day we rely on electricity, in most cases more than we are aware of, from boiling the kettle to watching TV, and from using lights to charging our phones. But did you know that electricity causes more than 20,000 fires a year in the home? This equates to almost half of all accidental house fires in the UK.

To help reduce the risk of your home becoming a fire risk due to electrical faults or misuse of electrical appliances, we recommend you:

  • Check plugs and sockets within your home, whether they’re used daily or infrequently, for burn marks, signs of arching (a buzzing sound) or being unusually hot to touch.
  • Carefully removing plugs from their sockets. Don’t pull them by their cables as this can put a strain on them and cause unnecessary damage. Instead, grip the side of the plugs and carefully remove them.
  • Don’t hang wet washing on electric heaters. Surely we don’t need to tell you that water and electricity do not mix.
  • Have a qualified electrician check the wiring within your home every 10 years. The wiring in your home can become worn over time, which increases the risk of the wiring becoming dangerous and potentially a fire risk.

Along with the electrics in your home being a fire risk, many of us are increasing the risk by using an electric blanket during the winter months – with electric blankets causing more than 5,000 house fires a year. Reduce the risk of yours becoming a fire risk by:

  • Having it checked by a qualified electrician every 3 years (or as per the manufacturer guidelines)
  • Replacing the blanket every 10 years or sooner if it’s showing signs of wear and tear
  • Never using a hot water bottle with your electric blanket – again water and electrics don’t mix.

Reduce the Risk of Fire in Your Home:

Did you know that between April 2013 and March 2014, properties without smoke alarms accounted for 38% of deaths following fires in the home, whilst nearly a fifth of deaths following a fire in the home occurred where a smoke alarm didn’t work? [source:https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/456652/Fire_Statistics_Great_Britain_2013-14___PDF_Version_.pdf]

It’s a sobering thought, but by taking a few simple measures there’s no reason why you cannot protect your home. Such measures include:

  • Fitting at least one smoke alarm, which holds the British Standard BS5446 and Kitemark, on every floor of your home. These smoke alarms should be tested on a monthly basis to ensure the batteries and sensors still work. Ideally, you should install a smoke alarm in every room of your home – except the kitchen and bathroom as steam can set them off – as well as the landing and hallway.
  • Replace the batteries in your smoke alarms every year or when they stop working (whichever occurs first). If you have a ten-year smoke alarm, the entire alarm will need to be replaced after ten years.

In addition to making sure you’ve adequate smoke alarms fitted within your home, other steps you should take to reduce the risk of accidental fires starting include:

  • Never leave candles which are lit unattended, this is particularly true at Christmas time / throughout winter when candles are used more – particularly as two fires a day are started by candles.
  • Never leave pans unattended when cooking, never cooking when intoxicated or when you’re overly tired, especially as half of the home fires are caused by cooking accidents.

By taking the time to regularly check your smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors and electrics can make all the difference in an emergency situation, providing those vital seconds for you and your loved ones to get to safety. Don’t leave anything to chance, protect your family today.

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