Fire Safety in the Home
This section has been co-produced with Cheshire East Fire and
Please click on the relevant link below to view the
Fire in the Home
There are six important steps that you can take to prevent fires
from happening in your home and also what to do to stay safe if one
does break out.
The '6 Sense' steps
Risk Assess your own home
Visit the Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service website to complete a
short online Fire Safety Assessment, which will help to highlight
any potential risks of fire in your home.
a home Safety Check
You can complete your own home safety check by following the
- Once you have completed the online home safety assessment, you
can watch a short home safety video.
- This short programme will help you with key pointers on how to
keep you and your family safer in your home.
- It takes only takes 5 minutes to check your home.
5 minutes that could save your families lives.
- Complete the online Fire
Book a home safety check
Cheshire, Halton and Warrington residents can arrange for a
firefighter to come to visit your home to check for fire
Advice will be given on how to make the home safer, what to do
in the event of a fire and what to do if you are trapped by a
A smoke alarm will also be fitted (free of charge) if your house
is without one, with an explanation on how to maintain it
To arrange a home safety assessment please complete the
online form via the Cheshire Fire
& Rescue website.
You can also ring on 0800 3890053.
There is now also an SMS text service for the deaf, hard
of hearing. To book your assessment simply text
HSA and your name and address to 07624 808300.
The text service has been launched for D/deaf, speech impaired
or specific needs customers, but can also be used by other people
You also have the option to complete you own Home Safety
Fire Safety in the Kitchen
More than half of accidental fires at home are started by
cooking - often when cookers and grills are left unattended.
On this page you can find out how to keep safe while you are
cooking and what to do if a fire starts in your kitchen.
The most important point about cooking is to avoid being
distracted. Most kitchen fires occur when people leave pans
- If you are called away from the cooker " by the phone, or by
someone at the door " take pans off the heat
- Do not cook if you are affected by alcohol or prescription
- Do not put oven gloves or tea towels down on the cooker after
you have use them
- Always clean the grill pan after using it.
Reduce the chances of a fire
The following advice will help you to reduce the chances of
having a fire whilst cooking:
- Keep electrical leads away from the cooker and from water
- Clothing and tea towels should be kept away from the
- Do not move a pan that is on fire and never throw water over
- Turn off the heat under the pan if it is safe to do so and
allow it to cool completely
- If a pan catches fire, do not take risks - get everyone out of
your home and call the fire and rescue service
- Do not leave pans on the hob when you are not around - take
them off the heat if you have to leave the kitchen
- If deep fat frying, never fill the pan more than one third full
as you are heating oil to extremely high temperatures - ideal
conditions for a fire
- In the event of a power cut or failure of your fuel supply,
make sure any alternative cooking equipment to be used is working
properly and safely before use.
Deep Fat Frying
The most common type of fire is caused by deep fat frying.
Think about what you are doing when you are deep frying. You are
heating several pints of oil to extremely high temperatures. The
oil can not only cause terrible burns, but it can go up in flames.
The oil is an ideal fuel for a fire, and difficult to put out.
- Never fill the pan more than one third full
- Dry food before putting it in (water can make the oil
- Test the temperature with a small piece of bread or potato. If
it crisps quickly, the oil is hot enough
- If the oil starts to smoke - do not put the food in. Turn off
the heat and leave it to cool
- Do not ever leave the pan unattended
The safest way to deep fry is to use a thermostat-controlled
electric deep fat fryer. Its thermostat stops it from ever
Dealing with a fire in your kitchen
If a pan catches fire in your kitchen:
- Do not move it, because it will be very hot
- Turn off the heat if it is safe to do so - do not lean over the
pan to reach the controls
- Do not use a fire extinguisher on a pan of oil. The force of
the extinguisher can spread the fire
- Never use water on chip pan fires as this will cause a
fireball, use a fire blanket to smother the flames if it safe to do
- Get out, stay out and call 999
Fire involving an electrical appliance
If an electrical appliance catches fire, do not throw water on
If it is safe to do so, you may be able to put out the fire
- Pulling the appliances plug out
- Switching off the power at the fuse box
If the fire does not go out, get out of the house, stay out and
Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service advise that if you have an open
fire in your home, to get chimneys swept at least once per
Please check your chimney - by booking a
registered chimney sweep.
Tips for safe chimneys
Here are some top tips for safer chimneys:
- Keep chimneys and flues clean and well maintained
- Make sure embers are properly put out before you go to
- Always use a fire guard to protect against flying sparks from
6,000 chimney fires a year in England
An open fire is an ideal way to keep warm in the winter, but
without proper maintenance a chimney can become dangerous. The
latest statistics show that there are approximately 6,000 chimney
fires a year in England, but most of these are preventable.
To keep yourself and your family safe from fire you should take
care to have your chimney swept regularly, depending upon what fuel
you burn, before the colder winter months set in and you begin to
use your fire and chimneys again.
If the worst should happen, a smoke alarm can give you the extra
time you need to escape in a house fire make sure you test yours
Regular maintenance of your chimney will depend on the fuel you
- Oil Once a year
- Gas Once a year
- Bituminous coal Twice a year
- Wood Up to four times a year
- Smokeless coals At least once a year
Preventing Chimney Fires
The most common causes of chimney fires are:
- Improper appliance sizing
- Burning unseasoned wet wood
- Infrequent sweeping and cleaning
- Overnight burning or smouldering wood for long periods in wood
It is recommended that these measures are taken to help reduce
the risk of chimney fire:
- Chimneys must be swept on a regular basis this can be as much
as three times in the burning season (winter) but at least once per
season regardless of fuel type.
- All wood burned must have a moisture content of no more than 17
- It is important to purchase the correct size appliance for your
room, an appliance which is too large will never be used hot enough
to volatize all of the fuel within the wood and unburned fuel will
pass up the chimney as smoke and condense within the flue as
extremely flammable creosote.
To minimize creosote production in a wood stove these steps can
- Once the fuel load has been ignited and the flue has been
heated to its operating temperature, the stoves air supply should
be adjusted to limit the amount of air to avoid over firing and
excessive heat loss up the chimney. They should, however, be open
enough to maintain moderate flaming combustion in the fire box.
(The flames should fill the entire window or fire box without being
sucked up the chimney).
- To determine if this is maintained the condition of the fire
should be checked through any glass panels and the density of the
smoke as it exits the flue at the top should also be checked.
- An internal probe type thermometer located within the flue can
be used to ascertain if flue temperatures are of a sufficient
temperature or if they are excessive, magnetic flue temperature
thermometers can also be utilised to this end.
- It is important when using a multi fuel stove that you control
the burning of the appliance by the air inlets provided for this
purpose not using any dampers which could obstruct the safe passage
of exhaust from being able to exit the appliance.
Remember a blocked flue can kill and the exclusion of air will
put out a fire.
Carbon Monoxide poisoning (CO)
All chimneys and flue-ways should be cleaned and checked during
the summer months to ensure they are free from debris and in full
working order before the heating season. A blocked or defective
chimney can cause both chimney fires and carbon monoxide poisonings
so its very important to employ a professional qualified Chimney
Sweep such as those certified by NACS.
Find out more about carbon monoxide poisoning by visiting
- Carbon Monoxide section.
Registered Chimney Sweeps
To find a certified Chimney Sweep, or for more information on
chimney fire safety, please visit one of the following
The National Association of Chimney Sweeps (NACS)
The National Association of Chimney Sweeps (NACS) is the
national trade body for professional Chimney Sweeps in the UK and
is also a full member of ESCHFOE representing Great Britain. The
NACS is dedicated to consumer chimney safety. The NACS has a
dedicated Chimney Training Centre (CTC) for professional Chimney
Sweeps to undertake training. The centre is also CITB accredited
for the NVQ Chimney Engineering.
The Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps
The Guild is a professional organisation working closely with
European colleagues, to raise standards in the industry and promote
customer awareness around the dangers associated with burning
carbon based fuels. The Guild is a member of the European
Federation of Chimney Sweeps (ESCHFOE).
The Association of Professional and Independent Chimney
Formed in April 2002, APICS recognises the independence of
sweeps but forms them into a Trade Association. APICS is keen to
raise the standard of sweeps throughout the country and keep all
members updated with the latest technology and health and safety
issues. They assess all new sweeps to ensure competency and
encourage all members to educate the public with regard to chimney
fires and CO poisoning.
It is a tragic fact that every year in the UK around 30 children
are killed and more than 900 are injured in accidental house fires.
This is often because there is no smoke alarm or because no adult
is there to help the children and they don't know what to
Fire often fascinates children - don't hesitate to contact
Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service if you believe a situation is
becoming more serious.
Make your home safe
- Don't let children play or leave toys near a fire or
- Put a childproof fireguard in front of an open fire or
- Keep your escape route clear of toys and other
- Place candles and tea lights where children cannot reach
- Don't leave children on their own in a room where there's a
- Keep matches and lighters where children cannot see or reach
- Put plug guards into sockets so children can't stick anything
into the holes
- Keep portable heaters in a safe place where they can't be
knocked over when they are being used or stored
- Never leave children alone in the kitchen when you're cooking
and never let them play near the oven and hob
- Put child locks on cupboards containing anything that could be
used to start a fire (for example matches, candles, flammable
liquids and so on)
Get free smoke alarms
To book a free home safety check please see the second tab in
this section entitled Book a home safety
Games for children
The Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service website has games, quizzes
and exercises to teach children about fire safety.
For more information
Visit the Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service website and take a
look at the Fire Safe
Scheme or the Child Safety Week
sections for more information.