A-Plan, the high street insurance broker in Andover is warning home-owners in the local area to carry out a fire safety sense check around their home and make sure smoke detectors are in full working order as we enter the peak months for house fires.
According to the Department for Communities and Local Government, there were 36,368 accidental fires in homes during the fiscal year 2012/2013 and October, November and December are the most common months for fires in dwellings. Sadly it’s human error that’s often the cause due to misuse of equipment and appliances making up 38.2% of ignition sources, compared to 24% due to faulty appliances/leads and fuel supplies.
Vikki Ablitt, Branch Manager said: “We’ve had a really prolonged summer but as we head into the Autumn and Winter months, the risk of house fires rises, partly due to an increase in the number of chimney fires. Fire and smoke alarms should of course be checked weekly but it’s also worth carrying out a sense check around the home and especially the kitchen for risks you may have become blind to. And, if you have an open fire, book in a chimney sweep to help clear any soot, dust and debris trapped in the flue, so you don’t end up with a bigger fire than you bargained for.”
Cooking appliances account for over half of all accidental dwelling fires (18,783 fires) – often it’s the microwave or toaster. However, one in ten fires is caused by placing articles too close to heat. The innocent tea towel draped on the cooker for example. It is also advisable not to leave washing machines, tumble and spin dryers in operation while the home is unattended as these white goods lead to 5% of fires. Even dishwashers, fridge/freezers and central heating/hot water systems have led to fires according to the Government’s data.
Ablitt continues: “Simply unplugging electrical equipment can help mitigate risks considerably, particularly if you aren’t using the appliance regularly. Avoid overloading plug sockets and also just consider where heat builds up in the home – and make sure the area around it is clear.
“We’re also heading towards bonfire night so it’s worth a reminder not to let off fireworks near trees and thatched homes. After a very dry summer, a spark could easily lead to a major fire.
“A-Plan supports many clients each year with claims related to house fires – if we can help homeowners reduce the risk, we can hopefully prevent some unnecessary heartache this winter.”