Preventing fires

Tips on how to prevent fires in your home and building. They include when you are cooking, electrics, storing waste and other items, smoking, balconies, candles and incense.

Cooking

Always:

  • keep tea towels and clothes away from your cooker and hob
  • supervise children in the kitchen
  • keep matches and cookware on hobs out of the reach of children
  • clean a toaster before you use it
  • keep toasters away from curtains and kitchen rolls
  • check your food is dry before putting it in hot oil
  • use a thermostat-controlled electric deep fat fryer instead of a chip pan because they cannot overheat
  • use microwave-safe cookware in your microwave and avoid metal and foil, plastic containers and bags, and cardboard lined with wax or plastic
  • check you have switched off your cooker and other appliances when you finish cooking

If you need to leave the kitchen while you are cooking, to reduce the risk of a fire turn your oven, grill and hob off or down.

If oil starts to give off smoke, turn off the heat and leave it to cool down.

If a pan catches fire, you can turn off the heat if it is safe. You should try to:

  • close your kitchen door
  • get out of your home
  • get to a safe place
  • dial 999, explain what has happened, where you are, and your building’s address

Never:

  • cook if you have been drinking alcohol or taking drugs
  • try to put out the fire yourself
  • move the pan
  • throw water over the pan

Electrics

Always:

Never:

  • overload electric sockets, extension leads, adapters or chargers
  • plug an appliance that uses a lot of electricity into an extension lead or adapter, like a washing machine, dishwasher, fridge freezer, or electric heater
  • cover appliances, devices, adapters or chargers, including leaving them on your bed

If you have any concerns about the electrics in your home or have broken sockets or switches, report a repair immediately.

Portable heaters

Always put heaters somewhere:

  • you will not accidentally walk into them or knock them over
  • away from curtains and furniture and things that could catch fire

Never:

  • use heaters to dry clothes
  • sit too close to a heater because you could burn yourself

Electric blankets

Always:

  • unplug an electric blanket before you get into bed unless it has thermostatic controls that mean it is safe to use all night
  • store electric blankets flat, rolled up or loosely folded
  • check the blanket for signs of wear and tear

Never buy secondhand electric blankets.

Balconies

If your home has a balcony, never do anything on your balcony that could cause a fire. This includes:

  • smoking
  • using a barbecue or fire pit
  • storing things that could catch fire, like wood, gas bottles and papers
  • adapting your balcony
  • installing screens that could catch fire

If you have any questions or concerns about your balcony, call 0191 525 5000 and select option 4.

Storing waste and other items

Always keep:

  • your rubbish bin at least 1 metre away from the building
  • communal areas clear and tidy and not use them to store items like mobility scooters, bicycles and furniture

Never store rubbish bins and other waste:

  • in electric meter cupboards
  • on landings
  • against your building
  • under windows
  • beside ventilation grilles
  • in front of entrances and exits

You can:

Never store personal items in electric meter cupboards. Because it is a fire hazard, we may remove and destroy them at any time.

Smoking

Always:

  • put out all smoking materials when you have finished with them and before you put them in your bin
  • use a proper ashtray that will not tip over and is made of something that will not burn, not something that could catch fire like a paper bag
  • use child-resistant matches and lighters
  • keep other types of match and lighter out of the reach of children

It is safer to smoke outdoors than indoors.

Never:

  • smoke in bed
  • smoke illegally made cigarettes
  • leave a lit cigarette, cigar or pipe unattended because it could fall over and start a fire
  • discard of smoking materials outside of building entrances

Candles and incense

Be careful with candles or incense and take extra care if you have been drinking alcohol or taking drugs or medicine.

Always put candles and incense somewhere:

  • you will not accidentally walk into them or knock them over
  • away from curtains and furniture and things that could catch fire

Always:

  • put out candles and incense at night and before you leave a room, so you never leave them unattended
  • use child-resistant matches and lighters
  • keep other types of match and lighter out of the reach of children

Never leave children alone with candles and incense.

For more information

For more information about preventing fires in your home or building, email tenantfiresafety@gentoogroup.com