Fires start for all number of reasons. More often than not fires are accidental; the result of human negligence or faulty electrics. We are all familiar with the risk that common household items like candles and other sources of naked flames represent.
Sometimes sources of fire are less obvious. Homeowners and businesses owners alike are not always fully aware of flammable products; cleaning liquids and cooking ingredients are an excellent example of this.
What follows is a rundown of some of the most common causes of fires throughout the UK. Familiarity drives awareness; read the list carefully to lower the risk of a fire on your property.
According to GOV.UK, “Smokers’ materials (e.g. cigarettes, cigars or pipe tobacco) caused the largest share of deaths in accidental dwelling fires (37%) [from April 2013 to March 2014].
“More than a third of fire deaths in non-domestic buildings were caused by smokers’ materials or cigarette lighters.”
To combat the risk of fire, ensure cigarettes are properly struck out before disposing of them. Dampening the tip in water takes seconds and guarantees the cigarette is extinguished.
We have grown increasingly dependent on technology to improve our overall quality of lives. This dependency has led to a greater requirement for electrics, particularly charging cables and plug sockets.
Overburdened plug sockets are incredibly dangerous, while faulty wiring can spark fires in nearby substances or fabrics. Use your technology safely and reliably, and dispose of faulty electrics, in order to reduce the risk of electrically-started fires.
Flammable and Combustible Materials
Almost every businesses or retail premises contains storerooms stocked with industrial cleaning products. Most homes contain a similarly purposed cupboard or shelf. Cleaning products are notoriously flammable, and can be a real fire risk if not used and stored appropriately.
Label your cleaning products clearly, and ensure you know what kind of substance you are handling before use. If chemicals are particularly potent, ensure the correct protective clothing is used, and that the chemicals are kept away from naked flames.
Responsible handling of flammable and combustible materials can save lives.
Heating forms the infrastructure of almost every property in the UK. We depend on it in order to stay warm throughout our long winters and mild summers. It is also a cause of fires across residential, commercial and industrial premises.
Do not leave your heating on longer than necessary. Careful, considered use of your heating will reduce your electricity bills as well as the risk of fire. If the premises are vacant, ask yourself whether or not you really need to leave the heating on. Even turning it down by a few degrees can be the difference between a warm house and combustion.
Cooking equipment is a common cause of residential fires. According to GOV.UK, they are “source of ignition in more than half of accidental fires in dwellings”.
Often, common sense is all it takes to reduce the risk of cooking-related fires. Do not leave your cooking unattended. Keep flammable liquids and substances away from naked cooking flames. Double check after preparing your meal – have you turned the cooker/oven/hob off?
Protection from arson includes security measures like fire rated doors and fire exit doors throughout your property. A fire exit door can help by providing a safe escape route for anyone trying to evacuate. By choosing a high security fire exit door, you could prevent potential arson attempts through forced entry.
A fire rated door can contain a fire, and prevent it spreading throughout a premises. Although mainly used in commercial and industrial applications, domestic fire doors are also available, in a more appealing choice of styles and designs, with a large choice of fire rated ironmongery and hardware to choose from.
Candles have been causing fires for hundreds of years, and there’s no sign of them stopping yet. Nowadays we tend to enjoy them for their aesthetic purposes over their practical use as a light source, but this doesn’t make them any less of a risk. A forgotten candle can quickly set alight everything from furniture to curtains.
Make a point of blowing out candles when leaving a room. Check that they have been properly extinguished before moving away. It can be tempting, especially if you’re relaxed, but never fall asleep with lit candles in the room. It isn’t worth the risk.
One of the biggest causes of fires is human negligence. Either we are careless or we do not properly understand the threat that fire represents. Proper fire awareness and respect is vital to reducing the risk of fires.
Something as simple as discussing a fire escape plan at home could save the lives of you or your loved ones. At work, make sure you and your colleagues fully understand the fire procedure. If you run a business, set out clear training time for fire safety and awareness.
Wherever you are, keep an eye out for irresponsible actions and correct them quickly. It might be as simple as putting out a cigarette or unplugging an appliance, but it could mean the difference between a routine day and a life-changing fire.