Sarah Beeny Autumn 2017 - 134

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With the Grenfell Tower tragedy in west
London, earlier this summer, still fresh in all of
our minds, fire safety in households across the
country has come into sharp focus. ccording
to Home O ce statistics, fires have increased
in the past year, with
,
incidents
reported. ut what can you do to ensure
your property is protected
Here are four key ways to reduce the risk
and improve your fire safety.

1

FIT SMOKE ALARMS

moke alarms provide a vital early
warning and can allow e tra time to
escape if there is a fire in your home. et
government data shows that there are around
. million households in England that do not
have alarms installed.
ometimes called smoke detectors, the
ondon ire rigade recommends a minimum
of a least one device fitted on the ceiling of every
oor in your home. However, one in every room
you use regularly, plus one in the hallway, is ideal.
Never install a detector on a wall, as it
could result in a delay in the alarm activating.
his is because the smoke will travel to the
ceiling more uickly.
If you live in a large house or over several
levels, you can have linked alarms installed
so that when one alarm detects a fire, they
all go off together. lways opt for devices
that come with a
year, long lasting sealed
battery and test each one monthly to make
sure they're working.
ince October
, landlords are legally
re uired to install smoke alarms in rental
properties and could face fines of up to
if they fail to comply.

2

KITCHEN ESSENTIALS

ccording to the Home O ce, around
half of home fires are caused by cooking
accidents - so in addition to fitting smoke
alarms, opt for a heat detector in the kitchen that
is suitable for e posure to steam and will go o
when a certain temperature is reached.
fire blanket is another must have. ount
it on the wall, in an easy to reach spot, so it's
accessible if an incident should occur. sing
a fire blanket is the best and fastest way to
e tinguish a fire. What's more, they can
also be used to wrap around a person if
their clothing has caught fire.

140 | OCTOBER 2017

3

BUY THE RIGHT FIRE
EXTINGUISHERS

ire e tinguishers are an important
part of the home fire safety plan, but can be
dangerous in ine perienced hands. ighting an
electrical fire with a water based e tinguisher,
for e ample, could give you an electric shock.
o find the one best suited to your needs,
look for the number and letter coding on the
device. he letter denotes the type of fire that can
be fought, while the number is a measure of the
unit's firefighting capacity.
or instance, ' fires involve the types of
materials that can be e tinguished with water,
such as paper, wood and cloth. ' fires involve
ammable li uids, such as cooking grease
and paint solvents, whereas ' fires involve
electrical e uipment, such as televisions,
fuse bo es and stereos.
he higher the number, the more powerful
the e tinguisher. or e ample, you can e pect
a device rated at
to put out twice as much
li uid as a
device.
However, according to the ondon
ire rigade, we should leave it to the
professionals. We do not recommend
that people tackle fires themselves,' says a
spokesperson for the ondon ire rigade.
If there is a fire in your home, get out, stay
out, close doors behind you and call
.'

4

MAKE A PLAN AND
TEACH YOUR FAMILY

Fitting smoke alarms and buying safety
kit is the first crucial step to protecting yourself
from fire. ut what would you do if your alarm
went o during the night
reate a family fire escape plan and practise
it twice a year, suggests ark Homer of
rogressive roperty.
repare visual documents that show your
escape routes and ensure all members of
the household understand them. emove
obstructions from the doors and windows
that can be used to escape,' he says.
Ensure that door and window lock keys are
placed in a secure location where everyone can
find them in the dark. nd once you get out,
never go back inside for anyone or anything.
all for help immediately ondon ire rigade
figures show that in
of fatal fires, there
was a delay of minutes or more from the
fire starting to the
call.



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