Fire safety precautions

Whether you’re a home owner or a tenant, there are certain simple precautions you should always take, to minimise the risk of fire in your home.

We’ve produced a gas and fire safety checklist you can download.

Fitting a smoke alarm

Make sure your home is fitted with at least one smoke alarm. Smoke alarms are cheap and easy to install, and can be bought at any DIY or electrical shop for as little as £5. Make sure you buy an alarm that meets British Standard 5446: Part 1, and remember to test the batteries regularly to check they’re still working.

Minimise the risk of electrical fires

There are several things you can do to help prevent electrical fires:

  • unplug appliances that aren’t in use
  • never overload adaptors with too many plugs
  • get electrical appliances tested by an approved contractor.

Be careful with heaters, candles and smoking

Keep heaters at a safe distance from flammable materials and always unplug electrical heaters when not in use.

  • Never cover heaters, for example by draping washing over them.
  • Never leave burning candles unattended.
  • Never leave matches where children may find them.
  • Never empty a hot ashtray into the bin – wet the contents first or wait until it’s completely cold.
  • Never smoke in bed.

Plan a fire escape route

Plan what you would do if there were a fire in your home and always keep the escape routes clear. Make sure everyone in your home is familiar with the escape plan. If the main exit from your home locks with a key, make sure the key is always easily accessible and everyone in your household knows where it’s kept.

Plan what to do in an emergency

If a fire breaks out in your home:

  • get everyone out
  • stay out
  • dial 999 immediately – it’s free from any phone.

Other things to remember include:

  • if possible, close all doors behind you as you get out – this will delay the spread of fire
  • if you need to open a closed door, check to see whether it feels hot first – if it does, there may be fire behind it so don’t open it
  • if there’s a lot of smoke, stay as low to the ground as you can and cover your nose and mouth with a cloth
  • if you need to break a window to get out, cover the edges with a cloth so you don’t cut yourself when you climb out. If possible, throw soft things like bedding out to cushion your fall.

You can find more detailed advice on the Fire Service website.

Find out more

The Fire Service website has lots of useful advice on reducing the risk of fire, including information on safety in the kitchen, how to choose and use fire safety equipment, and how to create an escape plan.

Your local Fire and Rescue Service may also be able to give you more information and advice. In some areas, they may be able to provide a free home fire safety check or fit smoke alarms in your home. You can find the telephone number of your local service in the phone book.

Gov.UK have developed a fire safety leaflet for people with sight, hearing and mobility issues and those who care for them.

Phone an adviser

If you have a housing problem, call our expert housing advice helpline
08000 495 495

Email an adviser

If you have a non-urgent problem and would like to speak to an advisor
email us

We are sorry that we cannot provide this information in Welsh, however if you would like to speak to an adviser in Welsh please contact 08000 495 495.

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This page was last updated on: December 3, 2020

Shelter Cymru acknowledges the support of Shelter in allowing us to adapt their content. The information contained on this site is updated and maintained by Shelter Cymru and only gives general guidance on the law in Wales. It should not be regarded or relied upon as a complete or authoritative statement of the law.