As we approach the winter, the risk of house fires is higher than ever, with people lighting candles, using stoves and lighting fires to keep warm throughout the colder temperatures.
How big is the risk to homes?
New government data has revealed in 2019 there were 576,040 accidental fires across the UK, which was a 2% increase compared to 2018.1 Throughout October, November and December last year, 1,171 daily fires were recorded in the UK2 and domestic fires happened most frequently during the hours of 6pm and 8pm in December.3
What are the causes?
With 1 in 10 households still not owning a working smoke alarm,4 accidents are happening daily. Cooking appliances and electrical distributions such as the heating are the most likely to cause a fire, in fact they were responsible for 27% and 13% of accidental fires last year respectively.5
Other heavy causes of fire to bear in mind this winter include matches and candles (3%), lights (3%) and smoking materials (7%). Below is a table of the biggest causes of accidental fires over the last year.
|Source of fire||Percentage of accidental fires caused in 2019|
|Cooker / Oven||17%|
|Wiring / Cables / Plugs||10%|
|Matches and Candles||3%|
|Grill / Toaster||3%|
Our Top 10 Tips to Preventing Fire in the Home
- Make sure you have a fire alarm installed and that the battery works. Regular tests will give you peace of mind that it is working correctly.
- Before you put your Christmas lights up, check them for any breaks or splits before using. They’re unlikely to have been used since the previous Christmas, so look for any damage. Don’t keep them on if you know you’re going to be away from the property for a long period of time.
- Double check all candles have been blown out before going to bed or leaving the house.
- Ensure any fires are completely distinguished before sleeping to ensure chimney fires don’t start throughout the night.
- Have an escape route planned so everyone can get to safety during the event of a fire.
- Do not smoke in bed and safely discard any cigarettes or ashtrays.
- Use fireproof safes to protect important home content such as documents, money or jewellery during a fire.
- During hectic times such as Christmas, check all appliances such as ovens and hobs are turned off completely after use.
- Take extra care if you’re under the influence of alcohol, check appliances and fires are all in a safe condition before falling asleep.
- Don’t leave naked flames unattended for a long period of time.
Whether you’re super vigilant or you’re just discovering the risks, make sure you’re extra careful this winter, to help prevent accidental fires in your home.