Fire Safety Around the Home

Download article Print article
Choose from the index:
Are you prepared in the event of a fire?

If you had a fire tonight, would you know what to do? Be prepared and have an escape plan. One day it could just save your life! Make sure you, and those you live with, know how to escape in the event of a fire. The most important thing to remember if a fire starts in your home is get out, stay out and call 999. You should never try to fight a fire yourself.

Planning ahead:

  • It’s important that everyone in your home (including children and the elderly) is involved in putting together the escape plan
  • Everyone should know where the door keys are
  • Keep your escape routes free of clutter. Think how difficult it will be manoeuvring in the dark
  • Walk your escape route with the rest of your family or housemates and make sure everyone can open doors easily
  • Always choose a second escape route if possible, just in case the first one is blocked
  • Review your escape route regularly to take into account any changes in your home
  • If you live in a building with internal communal areas, familiarise yourself with the fire evacuation strategy for the building. It is usually detailed on a large red notice displayed in the communal area.

What to do in a fire:

  • Keep calm and act quickly. Tell everyone in your home to get out
  • Seconds count, so don’t waste time investigating or rescuing valuables
  • Before opening a door check it first by using the back of your hand (starting at the bottom of the door and working upwards). If it’s hot, don’t open it
  • When moving through your home, close doors behind you to contain the fire.

If your clothes catch

  • Stop, drop, roll! Lie on the floor and roll around, smothering the flames
  • Don’t run around, you will fan the flames and make them burn faster
  • Smother the flames with a heavy coat or blanket.

What to do if your escape route is blocked:

  • Call 999 immediately
  • Find a room as far away from the fire as possible and wait until the fire fighters arrive
  • Tell the emergency services where you are in the property
  • If you have no phone to call 999 open the window and shout HELP FIRE
  • Put a cushion, bedding, towel around the bottom of the door to block the smoke
  • Open a window for fresh air
  • If smoke comes in, keep as low as possible as smoke rises
  • Once you have escaped, don’t go back inside your home, even if someone is left inside. Wait for the fire fighters and when they arrive give them as much information as possible.
How to reduce the risk of fire in your home

In the kitchen:

  • Avoid leaving children in the kitchen alone when cooking on the hob. Keep matches and sauce pans out of their reach
  • If you have to leave the kitchen, take pans off the heat
  • Make sure sauce pan handles don’t stick out – so they don’t get knocked over
  • Take care when wearing loose clothing, it can easily catch fire
  • Keep tea towels and clothes away from the cooker
  • Spark devices to light gas are safer than matches or lighters because they don’t have a naked flame
  • Double check the cooker is off when you have finished cooking
  • Keep electrical leads away from water
  • Keep the toaster away from curtains and kitchen roll and check it’s clean
  • Keep the cooker, hob and grill clean and in good working order
  • Don’t put anything metal in the microwave
  • Take care when cooking with oils. They set fire easily. If the oil starts to smoke it’s too hot
  • Make sure food is dry before throwing it in oil to prevent it from splashing hot oil
  • If a pan catches fire never throw water on it. Turn off the heat, call 999, get out and stay out. Never tackle a fire yourself.


  • Certain appliances such as a washing machine should have a single plug to themselves as they are high powered
  • Try to keep to one plug per socket
  • An extension lead or adapter will have a limit to how many amps it can take, so be careful not to overload them to reduce the risk of a fire. Check the amps on the plug
  • Keep electrical appliances clean and in good working order. Keep your eyes out for visual signs of damage such are loose wiring or exposed cables, scorch marks, hot plugs or sockets
  • Unplugging appliances reduces the risk of fire, unplug them when not in use or when you go to bed.

Portable appliances:

  • Try to secure heaters up against a wall to stop them falling over
  • Keep heaters clear from curtains and furniture and never use them to dry clothes.
  • For properties with balconies, the use of barbeques, chimineas, fire pits, portable fires etc. is forbidden.


  • Stub cigarettes out properly and dispose of them carefully – use an ashtray
  • Never smoke in bed or leave a cigarette lying around lit
  • Take extra care if you smoke when you’re tired, taking prescription drugs or if you’ve been drinking. You might fall asleep and set your bed or sofa on fire.


  • Make sure candles are secured in a proper holder and away from materials that may catch fire like curtains.
  • Put candles out when you leave the room, and make sure they’re put out completely at night
  • Children shouldn’t be left alone with lit candles
  • Keep pets away from lit candles.

When going to bed:

  • Close all internal doors to stop fire spreading
  • Turn off and unplug electrical appliances, unless they are designed to stay on e.g. a freezer
  • Check your cooker is turned off
  • Don’t leave the washing machine on
  • Turn heaters off and put up fire guards
  • Put candles and cigarettes out properly
  • Make sure exits are kept clear
  • Keep door keys where everyone can find them.


  • Test your smoke alarm every week by pressing the button until the alarm sounds. Never remove the battery unless it requires replacing.
  • Contact your local fire service to arrange a FREE Home Fire Safety Assessment (HFSA).  During a free home visit, the Fire and Rescue Service will provide fire safety advice and equipment depending on risk.   Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) offer more information on the video below.

  • Strobe lighting and vibrating pad alarms are available for those who are deaf or hard of hearing. Contact Action on Hearing Loss on Telephone 0808 808 0123 or Textphone 0808 808 9000.
Fire safety for residents with balconies

Please enjoy your balcony safely. Keep them free from clutter and don’t use them for storage. Balconies can be an important escape route for you or other residents and an access point for firefighters.

Here’s how to prevent fires or fire risks on your balcony:

  • NEVER use BBQs, even disposable ones, indoors or on your balcony. The pose a fire risk as well as risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. This also goes for fire pits, patio heaters and chimineas.
  • Avoid smoking on your balcony. If you do smoke on your balcony, DO NOT dispose of your cigarette butts over the side of the balcony. Keep a sturdy ashtray with a little water in it to make sure your cigarettes are extinguished properly
  • NEVR store flammable or hazardous materials (gas cylinders for example) on your balcony
  • NEVER use fireworks on your balconies.
  • White goods should NOT be used or stored on your balcony
  • DO NOT modify your balcony or install combustible screening
E-bike and e-scooter fire safety

E-bikes and e-scooters have become more popular in recent years and fire services across the country have seen an increase in incidents relating to accidental fires.  The most common cause for these, is failing e-bike and e-scooter lithium-ion batteries.   There are certain things you can do to help ensure the safety of yourself and other residents.

E-bike and e-scooter safety advice:

  • Always use the correct charger for the product and buy an official one from a reputable seller.
  • Batteries can get warm during their use and it is advisable to allow them to cool down before attempting to re-charge as they could be more susceptible to failure.
  • Batteries should always be charged on hard flat surfaces where heat can dissipate.
  • Batteries can also pose a risk if they have been damaged, so try to ensure they are not getting knocked around while in use or while being carried as spares as this can increase the chance of damage to cells.
  • You should always make sure you unplug your charger once it’s finished charging. Always follow manufacturers’ instructions when charging and we would advise not to leave it unattended or while people are asleep.
  • Ensure you have smoke alarms fitted in areas where e-bikes or e-scooters are being charged and make sure they are tested regularly.
  • Never block your escape route with anything, including bikes and scooters.
  • Store them somewhere away from a main through route.
Tumble dryer fire safety

In November 2015 a product recall was initiated to owners of tumble dryers manufactured by various brands including Hotpoint, Indesit, Creda, Proline, and Swan. The recall related to condenser and vented dryers manufactured between April 2004 and September 2015.

The recall related to the risk of fire caused by laundry fluff coming into contact with the heating element of the machine and is believed to be responsible for thousands of house fires and at least two fatalities. Since then the manufacturers of the affected dryers have offered customers the chance to have the fault rectified.

At the time of the initial recall the information provided by the manufacturers was to not leave the machines unattended when in use. However, in the past week Trading Standards have recommended that the manufacturer issues updated usage advice to all customers that have not yet received the product rectification.

The latest update now recommends that if you have one of the affected dryers then you unplug it and do not use it until the modification has taken place.

For more advice and to arrange a free visit from an engineer, please visit the following sites:

Alternatively a freephone hotline number is available: 0800 151 0905

Creda and Proline customers should visit:

Fire Doors – Do’s and Don’ts

For apartment blocks and independent living scheme, there are a number of fire doors in your building, both your own and in communal areas. These are there for your safety and inspected on a routine basis by Jigsaw Homes.

However, you are also responsible for the doors in your building. If you notice any damage to any fire door, its strips or smoke seals, or a door not self-closing properly, then please contact Jigsaw Homes straight away and also tell your caretaker.

Your Flat Entrance Fire Door

  • Look after your door.
  • Keep your door in good condition and report any issues immediately.


  • Drill or screw anything to the door, as you will compromise its fire rating. This means doorbells, nails for decorations, cables, or by changing components such as handles or door knockers
  • Disconnect the closing device. If you do, you will be recharged for the cost of buying and
    fitting a new door.

Communal Fire Doors – Important

  • All communal fire doors must remain in good condition
  • A closing device is installed on communal fire doors and must not be disconnected at anytime
  • Communal Fire Doors may be held open via electronic devices. DO NOT interfere with these devices. These fire doors will automatically close on the activation of the fire alarm
  • Fire doors MUST NOT be wedged open at anytime
  • Fire doors must not be tampered with i.e. damaged, removed or obstructed.
Testing your smoke alarms / heat detector

A working smoke alarm can ensure the safety of you and your family.   It is important that you check the smoke/heat detectors in your home are working as they should.

This is really easy to do, using of the “test” button which you will find on the downward facing section of the smoke detector.

We recommend that you have a smoke detector in your hallway and a heat detector in your kitchen too.

  • Test your smoke and heat alarm once a week by pressing the test button
  • If your alarm starts to bleep on a regular basis it may have developed a fault or simply need new batteries. Please contact us for further information.
  • Never disconnect your smoke alarm. Some smoke alarms are connected to your electricity supply and you could be injured if you try to disconnect it.

Contact us on 0300 111 1133  if you have any problems with a smoke/heat detector in your home or wish to have one installed.

Download article Print article
Related Articles