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Fire Safety

Fire safety in your home is vitally important. Here you will find information on how to be safe and protect your home against fire.

A fire in the home is very dangerous. It destroys furniture, appliances and paintwork. But most worryingly of all, fire could harm you or your loved ones through smoke inhalation, burns or even death. 

It is vitally important that you take action today and follow the four golden rules to fire safety in the home


Fire escape plan
Routine checks
Other useful articles or links

Check your home room by room for fire dangers and correct them. Remember most domestic fires start in the living room, bedroom and kitchen at night while we are sleeping

In the living area

Open fires
Always place a proper fitting spark guard and fire guard in front of an open fire. 
Never place anything to dry on the fireguard or sparkguard
Don’t store magazines, clothing or combustible items near a fire
Never use an open fire to air clothes as this is a major fire risk
Always place the spark guar and fire guard in front of the fireplace when you are going to bed.

Chimney cleaning
Chimneys have to be cleaned regularly, and follow this recommended cleaning guide:

Wood burning fires should be cleaned four times a year
Solid fuel fires shoud be cleaned once a year if using smokeless fuel
Solid fuel fires should be cleaned twice a year if using coal
Oil fires should be cleaned once a year
Gas fires should be cleaned once a year if designed for sweeping.

Portable heaters
Always be careful when using portable heaters
Position them away from furniture, curtains and flammable items
Never move heaters when in use
Ensure they are plugged out before leaving the house or going to bed.

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Never leave lit candles unattended and keep candles in proper holders
Position candles away from draughts
Keep candles away from curtains, clothing or bedding – as they may catch fire
Avoid moving a lit candle
Blow out candles fully before you leave the house or before you go to bed.

Never smoke if you are tired, especially when in bed or relaxing in a chair
Remember medication and alcohol can make you drowsy and smoking is a real fire risk when you are tired
Always use an ashtray when smoking
Empty all ashtrays before going to bed – make sure the contents are fully extinguished.

In the bedroom
Never smoke in bed
Keep a torch or a flash light near your bed for emergency lighting
Bring your portable or mobile phone to your bedroom for emergency use
Never leave your mobile phone charger plugged in at night or when you leave the house.

Electric blanket
Use electric blankets properly and follow the manufacturer’s instructions
Get your electric blanket checked regularly for wear and damage, such as frayed flex, scorch marks, loose connections, etc
When storing electric blankets, roll them instead of folding
Always turn off and unplug your electric blanket before going to sleep or going out. 

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In the kitchen
Put a fire blanket and fire extinguisher within easy reach in the kitchen and learn how to use them. 

Keep cookers clean – grease is a fire risk
Turn off the cooker when not in use
Never use a cooker for drying clothes
Check the cooker is switched off properly before going to bed
Clean or replace filters in extractor fans on regular basis
Avoid using open chip pans - they are a major fire risk.

Electrical appliances
Use electrical appliances carefully and store them properly when not in use
Never overload sockets as this is a major fire risk
Never run electric cables across cookers
Switch off and plug out electrical appliances when not in use
If cables or plugs are damaged, worn or frayed, contact a qualified electrician.


Smoke alarms
Install smoke alarms today and test them regularly
At least two smoke alarms (one on each floor) should suit most homes
Check the smoke alarms often by pressing the test button
Replace batteries when they are not working and every year for a standard one-year smoke alarm
If you have a 10-year smoke alarm, you need to replace the entire unit after 10 years
For maximum protection, a smoke alarm can be fitted in every room except the kitchen
Smoke alarms should be fitted at the highest point and close to the centre of the ceiling
Vacuum the smoke alarms regularly and wipe casing and slots, as they can get clogged with dust which may prevent them working properly.
If you have a mains operated smoke alarm, ensure you switch off the smoke alarm at the mains before cleaning it and remember to turn it on again.

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Fire escape plan
In an emergency, dial 999 or 112 for the fire brigade, an ambulanceor the Gardai and remember:


Make a fire escape plan and practice it often.

Keep escape routes clear at all times
Stay calm and put your fire escape plan into action
Check doors with the back of your hand - if they are warm it means the fire is on the other side, so don’t open them. Only open the doors you need to escape
If there is smoke, crawl along the floor where the air will be cleaner
Raise the alarm, shout to wake everyone up and make your way out by the quickest route – usually the front door
Do not investigate the fire
Once everyone is out of the house, call the fire brigade
Do not go back into the house until the fire brigade says it’s safe.

Routine checks

Carry out a ‘last thing at night’ series of routine checks

Ensure fires are out and spark guards are in place in front of open fires
Switch off and unplug electrical items before going out or going to bed
Don’t leave your TV or radio on stand-by
Ensure your remote control is not down the side of the armchair – as this can be hazardous if buttons are pressed, overheat and catch fire
Plug out the mobile phone charger when you are going out or to bed.
Check every room and close all doors when going to bed
Switch off and plug out your electric blanket before going to sleep
If your exit requires keys for opening, ensure the key is in the lock before going to bed
Ensure escape routes are clear before going to bed.

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Other useful articles or links

Click here for Citizen’s Information – emergency services


Emergency Contacts

Emergency – Dial 999 or 112

National Safety Council
LoCall: 1890 200 844 or 01-496 3422

Click here for HSE Local Health Offices

Click here for HSE Health Centres

HSE National Information Line
Monday to Saturday, 8am-8pm
Call Save: 1850 24 1850
Email: info@hse.ie

Citizen’s Information Centres
LoCall: 1890 777 121

Free and confidential service

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