From April 2017 until March 2018, the Fire and Rescue Services (FRSs) attended 30,744 domestic dwelling fires. Chimney fires accounted for 4,015 of the fires the FRS attended to during this period. Domestic fires are the leading cause of fire-related death in England. For example, in 2014 – 2015, 80% of all fire-related fatalities occurred in the home.
Sadly, with heating equipment on full throttle and log fires blazing, the winter is a peak time for home fires. By taking several common-sense precautions, most fires in the home can be prevented.
To help keep homes and loved ones safe from fires this winter and to ensure homeowners are adequately insured for fire-related damage, it is important a number of precautionary steps are carried out.
Take a look at the following safety recommendations for the home.
Install at least one smoke detector in the home
Many fires produce gases that are odourless and therefore can’t be detected by humans. By simply fitting smoke detectors in a property, occupants will be alerted if a fire has broken out. These potentially life-saving devices are inexpensive to buy and install.
Have a carbon monoxide alarm in the home
As carbon monoxide is odourless, tasteless, colourless and almost impossible to detect, it is vital that carbon monoxide alarms are placed in every room that contains a fuel-burning appliance.
These small and inexpensive devices serve as an early warning sign if carbon monoxide has leaked into the home and can prove vital for getting people out of the house in sufficient time.
Be sensible with portable heaters
Portable heaters provide quick heat and are an effective way to warm up a specific area or room in the home, without having to heat the whole house.
However, such heating equipment can pose as a fire risk, if not used correctly or wisely. Portable heaters should be kept away from anything flammable. They should also be switched off when occupants leave the house or go to bed. Children and pets should also be kept away from portable heaters.
Chimney inspection and maintenance
If homeowners have a woodburning stove or an open-fire in your home, it is vital they have the chimney inspected, maintained and repaired if necessary, to help keep the home safe.
When any fossils burn, residue from soot and creosote gets stuck to the chimney flue. When such residue builds up and becomes too thick the heat and embers from the fireplace can spark a fire in the chimney.
Having a chimney swept removes much of the residue of soot and creosote and consequently fires inside the chimney are less likely to occur.
Furthermore, the efficiency of a fireplace is decreased when creosote is deposited in the chimney, meaning homeowners are likely to burn more fossils fuels and find it more difficult to stay warm.
Professional fireplace installation
It is important it that fireplaces installed in the home are compliant with the Heating Equipment Testing and Approval Scheme (HETAS).
HETAS-approved stoves and flues are designed to maximise the safety of a fireplace and minimise the risk of fire in the home.
Fire safety and insurance
As domestic fires are one of the biggest house insurance risks, it is vital homeowners have the right cover. For insurers to pay out on fire-related damage, homeowners will need to take adequate fire prevention measures.
Open fires and fuel-burning fires can be found in all types of property and premises, including non-standard properties, such as holiday homes, business homes and professionally let property.
Manor Insurance staff are committed to providing competitive rates for all homes, including non-standard residential properties, that will provide vital fire-related damage cover.
For more information about our insurance solutions, including for standard or non-standard residential property, get in touch with Manor Insurance’s friendly team of residential property experts.