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Fire Safety in the Home

Monday 08 April 2019

As part of the Government’s commitment to help prevent fatalities and injuries from accidental fire, the Home Office has launched a new Fire Kills Campaign to keep people safe in their homes.

Last year, 248 people lost their lives due to a fire at home. Many of these could have been prevented. Everyday fire risks are present in homes, with well-known risks include candles and cooking left unattended, covered electrical heaters, overloaded plugs, and cigarettes. 

  • About 200 people a year die in accidental fires in the home.
  • Not having a working smoke alarm makes the risk of dying in a fire at least four times greater.
  • Faulty electrics (appliances, wiring and overloaded sockets) cause around 6,000 fires in the home each year.
  • Two fires a day are started by candles.

The campaign aims to raise awareness of everyday fire risks that are present in the home and encourage all householders in England to test their smoke alarms regularly. The campaign is particularly keen to reach vulnerable people, such as the elderly and disabled, as research shows they are more at risk from accidental fires.

The TV advert supported by radio, video and digital content highlights known fire risks, including candles, electrical heaters and plugs, cigarettes and leaving cooking unattended on a hob with a tea towel catching fire. This activity has been designed in collaboration with the National Fire Chiefs Council and local Fire and Rescue Services and has been developed based on extensive audience research and feedback from partners.

Stay safe from fire in the home

There are many ways to keep safe, with the campaign aiming to raise awareness, following quick and simple steps to reduce the number of fatalities and injuries caused by accidental fire.

  • install smoke alarms on every level of your home and make sure you can hear them throughout your home
  • test your smoke alarms monthly – they could save your life, but only if they are working
  • offer to test the smoke alarms of an older family member, neighbour or friend who needs help
  • plan and practise how you’d escape in a fire and have a plan B
  • most accidental fires start in the kitchen, so take care and never leave cooking unattended
  • don’t overload plug sockets and adaptors – watch out for loose wiring, scorch marks, and hot plugs and sockets
  • keep heaters clear from curtains and furniture and never use them to dry clothes
  • stub cigarettes out properly and dispose of them carefully – put it out, right out

Resources and further information

There is a range of guidance material for landlords and tenants and those who know of or care for someone who might be vulnerable due to age, mobility, sight or hearing issues. With a raft of resources from films, posters and social and digital assets, and guidance material for landlords and tenants, including Fire safety in shared or rented accommodation, the Government is urging everyone to support the campaign in helping reach as many vulnerable people as possible.