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The consequences of a fire in a holiday home can be extremely expensive, disruptive and even fatal. With local fire authorities attending more than 450 household fire incidents across the country each and every day (170,000 in the past year), they are also more common than you may think.
There are several steps you can take in order to minimise the risk, here’re our tips on preventing the five most common causes of fire in holiday homes.
Kitchen fires – common causes of fire in holiday homes
The kitchen is the room that by far contains the most common causes of fire in holiday homes, accounting for 43% of all household fires.
What can you do?
- Any build up of fat or grease can quickly ignite; ensure your holiday home kitchen is regularly cleaned and cooker extractor filters replaced.
- Water should never be thrown onto a pan fire, as it will act as an accelerant. Keep a fire blanket in your kitchen area and ensure it is clearly visible.
- Position your toaster away from kitchen roll or curtains and ensure it is emptied on a regular basis.
- Make sure towels, dish clothes and other flammable materials are stored away from the toaster and oven areas in your holiday home.
In excess of 20% of household fires (37,000) are attributed to issues with electrical appliances.
- You have a legal obligation to ensure that any electrical appliance with the potential to cause injury is kept in a safe condition for your visitors to use.
- If your visitor reports a potential default with an electrical appliance it’s important it is checked as soon as possible and in the mean time not used.
- Ensure that all electrical appliances are PAT (Portable Appliance Testing) tested on a regular basis.
- Consider how frequently checks are made. For example, you may wish to inspect appliances on a more regular basis during the busy summer months, when usage will be higher.
- Always remember potential defaults will not be obviously visible; thorough and regular checks by a qualified electrician are therefore important.
Fires related to smoking are the most deadly in the UK, accounting for 36% of all fire fatalities. Not allowing smoking in your holiday home will of course be the most effective way of preventing these fires.
If you do allow smoking in the external and garden areas of your holiday home consider having a designated area for this, and include ashtrays that are either fitted to garden furniture or are too heavy to be easily flipped over or blown by the wind.
There are a staggering 6,000 chimney fires in the UK each year.
- Ensure your chimney is swept at least once a year and in advance of it being lit for the first time in the autumn.
- If you have an open fireplace in your holiday home a fireguard should be provided for guests and be in place at all times; this will prevent damage to your carpet and sparks flying into areas in which they could ignite.
- Make sure your wood or fuel source is kept in a dry and cool environment.
- Consider removing any accelerants (commonly used for barbeques) from your holiday home during the winter.
Whilst candles can create a pleasant, romantic and cosy ambiance in your holiday home, their open flame does have the potential to quickly cause holiday home fires.
- If you do have candles in your holiday home consider placing them in sturdy holders, with sides higher than the height of the flame.
- Keep candles out of the reach of children and in a place in which they can’t be knocked over or disturbed.
A quick reminder!
When was the last time you checked your smoke / heat detectors?
Have you carried out an annual review of your Fire Risk Assessment?
Prevention of fire is the most effective way to ensure your holiday home is open for business and all of your visitors are safe.
If you have found this post on the most common causes of fire in holiday homes useful, you may also find the following posts for holiday let owners of interest:
- Complying with Fire Safety Law for sleeping accommodation providers
- Fire Safety of Furniture and Furnishings in Holiday Homes
- Reducing the risk of chimney fires
- Holiday home gas safety checks
- Solid fuel fire safety for holiday home owners
- Protect yourself and your guests from carbon monoxide poisoning
Boshers offer specialist holiday home insurance to owners across the UK. For more information on how a specialist insurer can help and support your holiday home business, please give us a call on 01237 429444.