Blogpost: Fire Safety Top Tips

It's Fire Safety Week

17th October – 23rd October 2022. Fire Safety Week is an all-island initiative to promote fire safety run jointly by the National Directorate for Fire and Emergency Management (NDFEM) and the Northern Ireland Fire Service. 

On average, 25 people die each year in Ireland in fires, which can start and spread quickly and destroy homes and businesses. This year's Fire Safety week focuses on fire prevention in the home, and in particular on reminding people of the importance of having smoke alarms, as well as testing them regularly. 

The "STOP Fire" checklist

This check list helps us remember the most effective fire safety steps and a great starting point for reducing the risk in your home and keeping yourself and your family safe.

STOP stands for:

S – Smoke alarms - make sure you have a minimum of one on each floor of your house.
T – Test your alarms every week or have someone else check it for you.
– Look out for Obvious dangers such as overloaded sockets, lit candles, unguarded fires, unattended appliances etc.
P – is for Plan your escape route. In event of the worst, being in the habit of keeping access routes clear and always having your keys at the ready will help you act quickly and decisively.


Statistics show that you are more likely to die in a fire if you do not have a smoke alarm.

• Install multiple smoke alarms: You should install at least two smoke detectors in your house – hallways and stairwells are the most important areas.

• Your smoke alarms should be connected so that when one sounds, all of the others also sound.


• Test your smoke alarms weekly to make sure they're still working by pressing the test button or having someone else do it for you.

• Change the batteries in each alarm every six months, even when they still seem to be working fine. A great habit to get in is to associate changing your smoke alarm batteries with the time change each spring (when the clock goes forward), and again in the autumn (when the clock goes back)

•  Vacuum and wipe the smoke alarms regularly - they may not work properly if they get clogged with dust.


Be conscious of obvious fire risks around your home:

  • Unplug your electronic devices.  Devices like hair-straighteners and even mobile phone chargers can catch fire if left unattended, so make sure you turn them off when not in use and especially at night time.

  • Don't burn candles or incense near curtains or bedspreads etc, and make sure you carefully extinguish them before going to bed for the night.

  • Never smoke in your bedroom, or when you are tired. Make sure your cigarettes are fully extinguished before leaving a room.

  • Matches, cigarette lighters and lighter fuel are all fire hazards and should be kept well out of the reach and sight of children.

  • Close all doors throughout your house, especially at bedtime. In the event of a fire, shut doors stop fire and smoke from spreading quickly through a house and can be a lifesaver.

  • Don’t overload electrical points, sockets, adapters or extension leads with too many items.

  • Replace any frayed or faulty wiring and loose plug or have a certified electrician repair them.

  • Don't leave dryers, washing machines or dishwashers running when leaving your home or going to bed.

  • Empty the lint tray of your tumble dryer after every use - this will both improve the dryer's efficiency as well as reducing the chances of a fire. 

  • Cook safely and never leave cooking utensils unattended.

  • Keep a fire blanket or extinguisher in your kitchen and don't ever throw water on electrical or oil based fires (such as chip pans)

  • Make sure your chimneys and/or flues to solid fuel stoves, boilers and open fires are cleaned by a professional at least once every year.


Most people who die in fires, die from smoke inhalation and not from burns. It can take as little as 3 minutes to die from smoke inhalation, and if a fire were to occur in your home, you might have to get out in dark and difficult conditions.  Escaping a fire will be a lot easier if you have already planned and rehearsed your route with your family. 

  • Your normal way out should be your preferred choice, but you should also consider alternative routes (back doors/windows etc) in case your main route is blocked.
  • Be in the habit of keeping your escape route clear of obstructions, for example checking each night before bed.
  • Protect your escape route by closing all doors into it, especially each night.
  • Involve everyone in your household in your escape plan, and practice using it.
  • Select a safe meeting place outside.
  • If you have vulnerable members of your household, think of how you will help them.

Though none of us like to dwell on the worst case scenarios of home fires, a little prevention can go a long way to making sure we never find ourselves in such situations. Similarly being prepared for the worst with an escape plan can give you and your loved ones the best chance of a good outcome.

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