Episode 4 preventing fire hazards Craig Phillips home advice

Video transcript

Craig Philips Home Advice Episode 4 - Fire

First and foremost, you want your home to be a safe place. But when the winter arrives, we turn on our fires, we plug in the Christmas tree lights, and we get out our electric blankets. This is when you're most at risk of a fire. There are more deaths in December and January from house fires than any other month of the year. Fortunately, there are a few simple steps you can take to keep you and your family safe.

If there is a fire in your home, it's essential that your family are made aware of this, and the best way of alerting them is fitting some of these - smoke alarms. If you haven't got a working smoke detector, you're twice as likely to die in the event of a house fire. They're quick and easy to install, and could save your life.

You should fit at least one smoke alarm on each floor of the house. The more you have, the safer you will be. The ideal place to fit them is on the ceiling in the centre of the room, the top of the stairs, landings, and in children's bedrooms. You can fit a smoke alarm yourself - just follow the manufacturer's instructions on the back of the unit. Check that they comply to the British standards when you buy them. Once you've installed it, make sure you test the battery every week. Vacuum out the centre of the smoke alarm and change the batteries twice a year, and replace the entire unit every ten years.

Now, over 3,000 people are seriously injured each year from chip pan fires, and almost half the fires at home are caused when people are cooking. Now, cooking with hot oil is especially dangerous - if a fire did occur, it can't be tackled with water. So never try to throw water onto boiling fat. Fire blankets - cheap to buy, easy to install, and will help you deal with cooking fires. When installing your fire blanket, make sure it's in reach of the area that you're cooking in.

Now, there are lots of precautions we can take whilst cooking to avoid a fire starting in the first place. Never wear baggy clothes whilst cooking, any cloths and tea towels - keep them away from the area, and always make sure it's clean and dry. Of course, when you're applying any food into hot oil make sure it's bone dry. If it does start to smoke, turn it down straight away. Now, your electrical items with cables on -  always keep them well away from the area that you're cooking in. And finally, your toaster - don't use it by the curtains or anything flammable.

Now, we all like to be warm and cosy - especially when it's cold. But over five thousand house fires are started each year from one of these - the electric blanket. Electric blankets are at their most dangerous when they're old or not used correctly. But there are things you can do to make them safer. Now if you're going to purchase your own electric blanket, make sure that it complies to all current safety standards first, and that it also has a thermostat and a timer that will automatically cut off if it gets too hot.

When you're fitting it, make sure it's flush with the mattress, tied down, and of course don't get it wet. There are some areas of the country where the fire brigade will come out and service it if required.

Gas and electric space heaters are vital for keeping a warm room in those winter months, especially when you haven't got a radiator. However, they can be serious fire hazards. But by taking an extra little bit of care, they should be no problem at all.

Don't fall asleep when relaxing next to any heater, and of course, don't cover it up with wet or dry clothes. Be careful where you position it as well - it doesn't want to be next to any beds, curtains, or any soft furnishings.

 Now, if you happen to have a gas heater, make sure it's got the British Kite Mark stamp on it, and when you do come to change the gas bottle, make sure you do it in a well-ventilated area.

It's more true of fire than almost anything - prevention is better than cure, and you should do all that you can to ensure you don't have a fire in your house. There are lots of steps you can take to help keep your house safe from fires, and they include:

Always ensure all flames have been completely extinguished, before you go to bed.

Always place candles on a heat-resistant surface, where children or pets cannot knock them over.

Keep matches and lighters out of reach of the children.

Empty ashtrays regularly, and put water onto cigarette ends before you throw them into the bin.

Try to get into the habit of a bedtime routine. Check that the cooker and the hobs are turned off, all the electrical items are switched off and unplugged, and don't leave the washing machine, tumble-dryer or dishwasher running whilst unattended. Check that all your escape routes are clear, close the doors to slow the spread of any fire, turn out the lights, and enjoy a good night's sleep. Good night.

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