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It Only Takes a Minute: Top Tips on Fire Safety in the Home

Safeguarding your home against the danger of fire is one of the most important things you can do for your family. Fires can occur from basic household activities like cooking with a gas flame, stoking a fuel-burning stove, or even just lighting a scented candle. They can also happen when we’re asleep or away from the home, as a result of an electrical fault or wildfire. While it’s not possible to eliminate all risks, there are a number of steps you can take to help protect your home from these emergencies. We’ve rounded up four critical fire-safety tips for every homeowner or occupier:

1. Install Fire Alarms

The most important step is to install smoke alarms on every floor of your home. Dublin City Council (DCC) recommends putting a smoke detector in each “escape route (corridor, landing, stairs etc), in each bedroom, and other high risk rooms like the living room, garage and utility room.” False alarms can happen in kitchens, so they advise installing a heat detector there too.

Some houses have smoke and heat alarms that are connected to the mains power, while others are battery operated; regardless of how they’re run, they should all be connected so if a fire is detected in one room, it’ll set off alarms throughout the house. This extra noise might make all the difference to your family if a fire occurs late at night.

2. Test Alarms Regularly

When installing fire alarms, make sure you follow the instructions carefully, or even better, entrust an expert with the task. DCC recommends that they’re placed somewhere you can reach them easily and safely, so that you can test them weekly.

If they’re not working, replace the batteries or repair the connection without delay – don’t leave it on the long finger. It’s a good idea to keep extra batteries in the house (somewhere safe, where children can’t access them) so that you can ensure your alarms are fully functioning at all times.

3. Practice an Escape Plan

If a fire occurs, it can be a very frightening and bewildering experience, particularly at night time. Smoke can reduce visibility and fear can cause disorientation, even in your own home. Therefore, it’s very important that you formulate a fire escape plan and share it with your family.

The Health Service Executive (HSE) has some very useful tips to include in your plan, such as keeping corridors and hallways clear and only opening the door that will help you exit the house. Once you’ve checked off all the items on the list, practice your escape plan with your family regularly, so that it becomes second nature. This will help them to keep a cool head and get out safely in the event of an emergency.

4. Keep Safe in the Kitchen

According to the USA’s National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), cooking is the leading cause of reported home fires and home fire injuries. Leaving pots, pans and fryers unattended is a major contributing factor, as is leaving oven mitts, tea towels or wooden spoons near the cooker.

Unfortunately chip-pan fires are still a common occurrence in Ireland, as cooking with oil is particularly hazardous. If oil does catch fire in your kitchen, use a fire blanket to put it out. Do not move the pan and never use water to extinguish the flames – this will only make a dangerous situation much worse.

5. Get Out, Stay Out

If a fire does occur in your home, the advice from all the experts is very simple: get out, stay out, and call for help. Fires can move very fast, and have devastating effects, so don’t delay and whatever you do, don’t re-enter the house. No personal possession is worth risking serious injury for. Once you have called for help, your local fire brigade will take over.

They are trained to put out fires safety and effectively – you can you trust them to deal with your emergency, and your insurer to help you with what comes next. At Liberty Insurance, we offer peace of mind as well as insurance policies. If the unexpected happens, you will be assigned a dedicated Claims Buddy who’ll make sure you’re not alone in the process.

Extra benefits include home emergency repair and loss of rent or cost alternative accommodation. In short, if your private home becomes inhabitable because of fire, we will pay the reasonable cost of renting similar accommodation for the period you cannot live in your home (subject to underwriting T&Cs – more information is available here). That means you can breathe easy, knowing your family is safe and comfortable while you start the process of repairing your home. Liberty’s #InsuranceExplained makes insurance simpler for the real world, making it easier for you to get the best insurance you can.