The thought of a fire in your home can be a terrifying prospect, not only for the destruction it can cause to your property and belongings, but for the danger it poses to your loved ones.
While fire poses a very real threat given the range of variables that can trigger combustion, there are practical steps you can take to reduce the risk and keep your home and family safe.
Fire statistics in Ireland
The Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage reports that in 2019, there were 11 606 causes of fires that were attended by fire brigades in Ireland. Of those, 353 were caused by electrical or other devices, while 124 were as a result of electrical wiring installations. Five were caused by an explosion.
Also in 2019, the Health Research Board (HRB) in Ireland released its inaugural research paper that examined the circumstances around fire-related fatalities between 2014-2016.
The research found that almost all the fires examined (92 in total) happened in private homes, with most starting in the living room, and then the bedroom and kitchen. Most fires occurred between midnight and 01:59 am.
The HRB research found more than half the household fires analysed, potential contributory factors included plugged in or faulty electrical devices and smoking (such as cigarettes). Other possible causes of fire in the home included open fires, frying pans and lit candles.
Electricity a key factor in domestic fires
While electricity itself isn’t a cause of house fires, it is a key contributing factor that can lead to combustion.
Among the variables that can lead to an electrical fire are overheating of power sockets and electrical wiring, open or exposed electrical wiring, faulty electrical devices, and beauty appliances such as hair dryers, hair straighteners and curlers that are not switched off after use.
IT equipment such as laptops, tablets and mobile phones and their chargers are also a source of electrical fires.
How to prevent fire at home
While accidental house fires continue to pose a threat to householders, the good news is they can be prevented with the proper precautions in place.
Here are our top preventative tips to keep your home safe from fire:
- Plug out electrical appliances when they are not in use.
- Don’t leave electrical appliances to charge overnight.
- Don’t overload electrical sockets.
- Never leave your mobile device to charge under your pillow or blankets.
- Regularly have a competent tradesperson clean your chimney and service your boiler.
- Install a minimum of two smoke alarms in your home and test them regularly.
- Have a registered electrician carry out a periodic inspection on your home’s electrical installation every five years to ensure your electrical wiring is safe and working properly.
What to do in the event of a house fire
Sometimes, no matter how many precautions we put in place, fires can still happen. If you experience a fire in your home, it is important to always remember these key rules:
- Don’t go back into your home until an expert declares it safe to do so.
- When it is safe, photograph the scene extensively.
- Don’t touch anything because your insurance company will want evidence of the damage caused by the fire.
- Don’t carry out repairs until you are advised to do so else you could affect your insurance claim.
Importantly, before you phone your insurer, phone CMG for claims advice.
We can provide you with advice and support that can help you achieve the best settlement possible under the terms of your insurance policy. We can prepare all the paperwork associated with your claim, lodge it with your insurer on your behalf, and negotiate with your insurer to secure a pay-out that will help you get back on your feet faster.
In the aftermath of a fire, the CMG team can also help you:
- Find alternative accommodation.
- Coordinate emergency repair works.
- Arrange cleaning contractors to clean-up mess from the fire.
- Assess the total loss to your property, including smoke and water damage that might not be spotted early on but cause long-term structural damage to your home.
- Appoint independent contractors to carry out repair works in your best interests and supervise their works until completed.
For more information about how CMG can support you in the event of a fire, or for help to lodge a claim with your insurer, please call a member of our team today on 1850 28 1850 (ROI) or 028 8224 9015 (NI), or visit our website at claimmanagementgroup.com.