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Make Prevention a Priority this Home Fire Safety Month

This September, Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service (RBFRS) is supporting the National Fire Chiefs Council’s (NFCC) Home Fire Safety Month campaign.

The campaign urges people to keep their homes safe from fire and considers  several risks including, chimneys, electronic goods and gas appliances.

Jess James, Area Manager for Prevention and Protection, states: “Protecting our homes is a priority for us all and following a few simple steps can go a long way to protecting your property. Turning off electrical appliances at the plug, staying in the kitchen when cooking, and installing working smoke alarms are just some of the ways you can keep your home safe.

“This September, we are also supporting two home fire safety campaigns: Chimney Fire Safety Week and Gas Safety Week. 90% of thatched roof fires are started by faulty flues or chimneys. Therefore, we are urging users of chimneys and similar appliances to ensure they are regularly swept clean.

“Meanwhile, research carried out by the Gas Safe Register shows that one in four UK households has a dangerous gas appliance within them. To stay safe, It is crucial that all gas appliances are checked annually by certified Gas Safe Registered engineers.”

To protect your homes and prevent life-threatening incidents, read and follow our simple safety steps below.

Home Fire Safety:

  • Have a working smoke alarm on every level of your home and test them regularly;
  • Never leave cooking unattended – most domestic house fires start in the kitchen;
  • Where possible, switch off electrical appliances at the plug before going to bed. And do not leave dishwashers and washing machines running overnight or when the house is empty;
  • Do not smoke cigarettes or other smoking products in bed. Make sure you distinguish them properly and carefully dispose of them;
  • Plan an escape route in case you find yourself in an emergency – practise with everyone you live with; and
  • In the case of an emergency: get out, stay out and call 999.

For more information, visit our Safety at Home webpage.


  • Chimneys should swept by professionals according to the type of fuel used:
    • Smokeless fuels – at least once a year
    • Bituminous coal – at least once a year
    • Wood – quarterly when in use
    • Oil – once a year
    • Gas – once a year (any work on gas appliances requires a Gas Safe registered installer or engineer).
  • Appliances that have been lined still require regular sweeping;
  • Use the appropriate fuel for your appliance;
  • Be careful when using open fires for warmth. Make sure you always use a fire guard to protect against flying sparks from hot embers;
  • Do not interrupt the air supply by blocking air vents or air bricks;
  • Avoid ‘slumbering’ an appliance; and
  • Never store the fuel next to an appliance.

More safety advice can be found on our Chimney Fire Safety webpage.

Gas Safety:

  • Make sure all gas appliances have had their annual safety checks;
  • Always use Gas Safe registered engineers to fit, fix or service your gas appliances – ask to see the engineer’s Register ID card to confirm that they are qualified to be carrying out the work;
  • Be aware of the signs that your gas appliance may be unsafe. Typical signs include a lazy yellow flame instead of a crisp blue flame, soot and staining around the appliance, and excess condensation in the room;
  • Do not use alternate fuel, such as disposable barbecues, as they can cause carbon monoxide poisoning;
  • To prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, install carbon monoxide alarms on every level of your home and test them regularly; and
  • Sign up to a free annual gas safety check reminder service at

Read for further information on Gas Safety.