How to avoid potential house fires during a heatwave

How to avoid potential house fires during a heatwave

During hot weather, being aware of fire hazards is vital.

Increasing temperatures mean risks are everywhere, both inside and outside of your home.

Direct sunlight, BBQs, sockets and mobile phones are all fire dangers and being more aware of them will help you in the long-run.

Not only do fires cause a serious risk to life, they also cause costly damage to your home.

So, in light of the current UK heatwave, expert property inspector Steve Rad of Inventorybase has shared his top tips on how you can prevent and avoid potential house fires caused by hot weather.

Avoid direct sunlight

‘Keep electronic equipment out of direct sunlight,’ Steve says.

‘This means making sure electrical hazards such as mobile phones, iPads etc are turned off when not in use and put safely away from direct sunlight when finished with.’

Reflective items

Keep mirrors, crystals, glass ornaments and other reflective items out of direct sunlight at all times, Steve urges.

He says: ‘Reflective objects can act as a lens and allow sunlight to bounce off them, setting alight nearby flammable objects such as curtains and soft furnishings.’

Air conditioning unit maintenance

‘Maintain air conditioning units and fans,’ Steve notes.

‘Regularly cleaning these out can help prevent the build-up of dust on motors, which could cause a fire when subject to hot weather.’

Combustible waste

Steve explains: ‘Regularly remove combustible waste including accumulations of dust, leaves, sticks and cardboard, as these can ignite and increase the chances of fires spreading through a property much quicker.

‘Make sure you keep ignition sources away from these materials or flammable liquids and gases.’

Cigarette stubs

When it comes to cigarettes, Steve says to ensure that there are suitable stubbing posts or ashtrays to dispose of them – to avoid accidental fires.

He advises: ‘Throwing it into a bin isn’t safe enough. Warmer days can lead to bins becoming dry and hot, and therefore more flammable.’

Mobile phones

‘Regularly check on mobile phones when charging them,’ Steve adds.

‘Mobile phones can get hot when charging, particularly in warmer weather. If left under a pillow or cushion, they can heat up quickly and be a potential fire hazard.

‘Always leave your device uncovered and away from soft furnishings whenever they’re charging.’

Overloaded sockets

Steve also warns not to overload sockets.

He explains: ‘Although you might want to plug your fan in while your phone charger and computer are also plugged in, you still need to be aware that fires can start because of an overloaded plug socket.

‘Furthermore, electrical cables everywhere can create a fire hazard, so keep your cables tidy.’

BBQ safety

Steve urges caution when using BBQs, too.

He says: ‘Make sure your barbecue is sturdy and positioned on level ground away from flammable objects like a fence or overhanging tree. Never light a barbecue in an enclosed space.

‘Also when putting the barbecue away, make sure the barbecue is fully extinguished and cooled down before you leave it and take care when getting rid of a disposable barbecue, or barbecue coals.’

Be prepared

‘Carry out in-depth and regular risk assessments,’ Steve advises.

‘Inspect and identify ignition sources and flammable materials within the premises, as these hazards can then be resolved by removing them or introducing alternative methods of storage.

‘Ensure that the premises and any fire safety and detection equipment, or emergency routes and exits are covered by a suitable system of maintenance.

‘All electrical equipment including carbon monoxide and smoke alarms on any property should be tested regularly to make sure they’re working properly. By law, these tests should be taken every week.

‘Make sure you have a clear emergency plan that describes your responsibilities in the event of a house fire.

‘Before undertaking a fire safety assessment it is necessary to obtain accurate plans of the building. This can be useful when preparing up-to-date information on hazards and fire fighting equipment.’

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