Fire Safety in the Home

This section has been co-produced with Cheshire East Fire and Rescue Service.

Please click on the relevant link below to view the information

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

Cheshire Fire 6 sense

Further reading:

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.

Home safety direct logoComplete a home Safety Check

You can complete your own home safety check by following the link below.

  • 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 Safety Assessment

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 hazardsFireman checking a smoke alarm.

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 fire.

A smoke alarm will also be fitted (free of charge) if your house is without one, with an explanation on how to maintain it correctly.

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 if necessary.

You also have the option to complete you own Home Safety Assessment online.

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.

Safe Cooking

The most important point about cooking is to avoid being distracted. Most kitchen fires occur when people leave pans unattended.

  • If you are called away from the cooker " by the phone, or by someone at the door " take pans off the heatfrying pan on fire
  • Do not cook if you are affected by alcohol or prescription drugs
  • 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 cooker
  • Do not move a pan that is on fire and never throw water over it
  • 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 explode)
  • 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 overheating.

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 so
  • Get out, stay out and call 999

Fire involving an electrical appliance

If an electrical appliance catches fire, do not throw water on it.cooker top on fire

If it is safe to do so, you may be able to put out the fire immediately by:

  • 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 call 999.

More information

Chimney Safety

Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service advise that if you have an open fire in your home, to get chimneys swept at least once per year.

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 bedTwo men next to a fire opening ready to sweep the chimney
  • Always use a fire guard to protect against flying sparks from hot embers

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 regularly.

Maintenance

Regular maintenance of your chimney will depend on the fuel you burn:

  • 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 stoves

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 percent.
  • 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 be followed:

  • 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 Cheshire Fire - 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 websites:

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 Sweeps

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.

Child Fire Safety

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 theChild safety children and they don't know what to do.

Fire often fascinates children - don't hesitate to contact Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service if you believe a situation is becoming more serious.

Child standing with a fire helmet on next to a fire engineMake your home safe

  • Don't let children play or leave toys near a fire or heater
  • Put a childproof fireguard in front of an open fire or heater
  • Keep your escape route clear of toys and other obstructions
  • Place candles and tea lights where children cannot reach them
  • Don't leave children on their own in a room where there's a fire risk
  • Keep matches and lighters where children cannot see or reach them
  • 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 check.Cheshire fire and rescue kidzone

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.

Contact Details

To arrange a home safety assessment please complete the online form via Cheshire Fire & Rescue or call 0800 3890053. Stop Adult Abuse Logo

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