Fire Safety at Home Advice
Dublin Fire Brigade wants to help you reduce the risk of fire to your home.
Is my home safe from fire?
On average 36 people die from fires each year in Ireland. The majority of these fatalities occur in the home and of these fatalities; the highest percentage is the elderly.
Dublin Fire Brigade wants to help you reduce the risk of fire to your home, just follow these three golden rules.
Three golden rules:
- Install smoke alarms to give early warning and test regularly
- Prepare an evacuation plan and then practice it regularly
- Look around and eliminate the hazards
Fire prevention – key steps
- Don’t leave young children alone in the house, caravan, mobile home or car
- Keep matches and lighters out of children’s reach
- Fit smoke alarms and CO2 detectors and test regularly
- Have fire extinguishers and/or fire blankets visible and know how to use them
- Do not use open chip pans
- Check electric blankets regularly for wear and tear if damaged, frayed or between three or five year old - get rid
- Always use a spark guard on open fires especially before going to bed or if children are around
- Do not leave newspapers, clothes or material too close to a fire or heaters
- Switch off and unplug all non-essential appliances when not in use
- Unplug phone chargers
- Plan escape routes and practice fire drills
- Ensure all escape routes are clear - if your exit requires a key for opening, ensure the key is easily available
- Close all doors, especially from the kitchen and living room
- Provide large, stable ashtrays for smokers – a burning cigarette end can smoulder for hours before igniting and spreading
- Never smoke in bed
- Check all leads and plugs for fraying or burning and replace if necessary. Do not overload sockets
- Get a qualified electrical contractor to carry out installation and repairs to electrical appliances and fittings. Don’t take chances
- Take special precautions at holiday periods like Halloween and Christmas
- All items used in the home should have the CE mark
What to look out for
- Don’t smoke when you’re feeling tired, especially when you are in bed or relaxing in a chair
- Always use an ashtray
- Extinguish cigarettes fully and empty the ashtrays before going to bed. Ensure the ashtray contents are fully extinguished before disposing of them
- Use electrical items carefully and store them properly when they are not in use
- Don’t overload sockets or use double adapters
- If electrical cables or plugs are damaged, worn or frayed, contact an electrician
- Be wary of hot electrical items like toasters, sandwich makers, clothes irons, bulbs, electric blankets, radiators and chargers
- Rubbish, newspapers etc. should not be allowed to build up and should be stored appropriately
- Flammable materials such as paints, solvents, adhesives (glues) and chemicals should not be stored in the home
Smoke and CO2 alarms
Smoke will not wake you up, in fact, it will make you sleep more deeply.
Smoke alarms are very important for early warning. Smoke and CO2 alarms buy you time to allow you and your family to get safely out of the house.
You should have 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. The kitchen should have a heat detector to avoid false alarms.
Smoke and heat alarms can be connected to the mains power supply or battery operated. All the alarms in your house should be connected so, if a fire is detected in one room all of the alarms will sound.
Follow installation instructions on the device. Be sure to place your alarms so that you can reach them easily and safety. They should be tested weekly by pressing the test button.
Often called the silent killer, carbon monoxide is an invisible, odourless, colourless gas created when fuels (such as wood, coal, natural gas, propane, and oil) burn incompletely.
In the home, heating and cooking equipment that burn fuel can be sources of carbon monoxide. Each year a number of people die from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning in the home.
Remember, Remember, Remember
Dublin Fire Brigade asks the public to remember three things that can help protect them against this silent killer using the mnemonic "Remember, Remember, Remember":
- Remember the causes – Carbon monoxide can be produced when any fuel is burned, including oil, gas, wood, coal and turf
- Remember to service – To prevent carbon monoxide, ensure your appliances are installed and serviced annually by a registered gas installer or a qualified service agent for your fuel type. Also make sure vents, flues and chimneys are kept clear
- Remember the alarm – Carbon monoxide is odourless and colourless so, for added protection install an audible carbon monoxide alarm. Make sure the alarm complies with EN 50291, carries a CE mark, has an end of life indicator and carries an independent certification mark
Further information can be found at Carbon Monoxide Awareness.
Over recent years, the increased popularity of stoves has lead to an increase in stove fires.
Fires are mainly due to poor installation of stoves and flues. Some of the fires have caused substantial damage to the building.
Stoves burn at very high temperatures and so the stove and flues need to be installed correctly and clearly spaced from any timber or combustible materials. Insulated flues that pass through ceilings and walls need to be spaced or encased correctly.
There is a wide variety of stoves and building layouts so they must be installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and the current building regulations (Technical Guidance document J “Heat Producing Appliances”, 2014).
You can learn more about stove safety on the British Flue and Chimney Manufacturer’s Association website.
More fire safety advice
For more practical advice on how to make your home safe from fire, visit:
- Make an evacuation plan
- Home safety checklist
For detailed fire safety advice for rooms in your home visit:
- Fire safety tips for living rooms
- Fire safety tips for kitchens
- Fire safety tips for bedrooms