Preventing Fire
in the Home

A Routine Fire Safety Check should only take a couple of minutes but it could mean the difference between Life and Death.

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There are a few simple things you can do to keep you and those you love safe from fire.

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What is National Fire Safety Week?

National Fire Safety Week is run jointly with the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service and is about enhancing fire safety, particularly in the home.

Dates for your diary

National Fire Safety Week 2016
3rd – 10th October
(Official Launch Monday 3rd October, Dublin)

National Fire Safety Week 2015
5th – 12th October
(Official Launch Monday 5th, Belfast)


National Fire Safety Week

This year's theme is "Smoking At Home Can Cause Fatal Fires". This year's campaign is aimed at reminding people that fires caused by smoking materials can spread very rapidly within minutes through a house.

Individuals need to be extra careful if they are smoking or disposing of smoking materials in their home. Make sure that cigarettes are stubbed out properly before going to bed and be extra careful if drinking alcohol or feeling drowsy. Never ever smoke in bed or leave a lit cigarette, cigar or pipe unattended as they burn downwards and can easily overturn and set fire to something. Matches or lighters should be kept out of reach of young children as they are always attracted to them.

We are also continuing to encourage everyone to have smoke alarms installed in their homes and ensure that they are tested regularly to ensure they are in full working order - Smoke Alarms Save Lives.

National Fire Safety Week has its roots in the Great Chicago Fire, which occurred on October 8, 1871. The former American President, Calvin Coolidge, proclaimed the first National Fire Prevention Week in 1925 in memory of those who perished in that Fire. Since then, in early October, it has been observed each year in countries around the world.

“STOP Fire - Working Smoke Alarms Save Lives”

Fit smoke alarms today and make sure they are in good working order. Working smoke alarms will warn you if there is a fire. Remember:Your sense of smell does not work when you are asleep and smoke can put you in a deeper sleep.

If someone in the home is deaf, or has impaired hearing, they may not hear an audible warning from a smoke alarm, e.g. if not wearing a hearing aid at night. There are smoke alarm systems on the market that use strobe lights or vibrating pads to give alert of danger from fire. These offer improved warning for people who may have difficulty hearing a smoke alarm with audible warning.

Smoke alarms may be tested by pressing the test button with the handle tip of a floor brush.

Replace the batteries when they are not working and once a year in standard alarms, or as soon as you hear the warning beep.

If you have 10 year smoke alarms, you need to replace the whole alarm after 10 years.

Get at least one smoke alarm for each floor in the home. Fit them between the sleeping areas and the kitchen & living rooms – one in the hallway at ground floor, and one at each upper level, in the landing. For an enhanced level of protection, consideration may also be given to fitting alarms in living rooms and kitchen, in bedrooms used by vulnerable people, or in bedrooms where there is a television or large electrical appliance (such as a computer). (Heat alarms may be considered where fumes from cooking or smoke from cigarettes or open fires could lead to unwanted alarms.)

Position smoke alarms at ceiling level in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions.

Vacuum the smoke alarms regularly and wipe the cover. If they get clogged with dust they may not work properly.

Things to note

  • Make sure cigarettes are stubbed out properly before going to bed
  • Be extra careful if you have been drinking alcohol or are feeling drowsy
  • Never smoke in bed
  • Keep matches and lighters out of reach of young children
  • Most people who die in fires, die from smoke inhalation and not from burns and it can take as little as 3 minutes to die from smoke inhalation
  • Get a smoke alarm fitted and check it regularly to ensure it is in full working order
  • Have a fire escape plan, teach it to your family and practise it regularly.

Find out more about National Fire Safety Week