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Causes of fire and how to prevent them

We can all be guilty of thinking that fire would never affect us or our properties, but fire claims are some of the most common home insurance claims.

Even if you have adequate home insurance, nobody wants to experience a fire in their home, but the good news is there are certain measures you can take to lower the chances of a fire in your property.

These are some of the most common causes of fires and how you can prevent them.


The most common causes of fire in the home


1 – Cooking and cooking equipment

It will probably come as no surprise that many house fires start in the kitchen. The combination of fire, oil and flammable materials means kitchen fires can spread just as quickly as they begin. Do not let your attention slip while cooking, even if you’ve done so before, and ask someone to watch your food if you need to leave the room for any reason.


2 – Smoking

Even though the number of people smoking in the UK is dropping year on year, cigarettes are still one of the most common causes of fire in the home. It’s best to light up outside, but make sure you use a large ashtray if you do decide to smoke indoors. Cigarette butts can stay alit for several hours, causing a fire long after you’ve forgotten about it.


3 – Electrical equipment

Electrical equipment poses one of the biggest risks to your home, but it’s not just faulty appliances you need to worry about. Overloaded plug sockets or extension cables can quickly lead to fires, even if they haven’t in the past. Check your cables for damage before use and unplug anything that doesn’t need to be switched on.


4 – Heating

Portable heaters should always be kept at least one metre away from surrounding items and flammable materials, but they aren’t the only thing you need to look out for. Failing to get your central heating system inspected is also a common cause of home fires. Schedule a maintenance check at least once per year.


5 – Candles

Candles are one of those items that can make a house feel like a home, but they can also lead to fire if not used carefully. Just like cooking, candles should never be left unattended. Blow them out when you leave the room and always make sure they’re in a sturdy holder while in use.


6 – Lighting

From flammable lampshades to faulty Christmas tree lights, the lighting in your home could pose more of a fire risk than you would expect. Make sure lamps are positioned somewhere where they cannot be knocked over easily and insulate any lamps surrounded by wood panels or other flammable materials.


7 – Barbecues

Barbecues can be great fun if used carefully, but quickly become very dangerous if they’re not. Before lighting a barbecue, make sure you’re far away from tablecloths, tree branches and anything else that could catch fire. If you have a full-sized barbecue, check the gas bottle before every use. If using a disposable barbecue, make sure the coal has completely cooled before disposal.


If you’ve experienced a fire or want to be prepared for every scenario, check out these fire insurance claim tips for homeowners.

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