Much as we all give out about Norman Price from the TV programme Fireman Sam. It would appear we are not much better at fire safety.
A study of 2,000 adults reveals a serious gap between people’s confidence when it comes to fire safety and their practical knowledge.
Research shows 95 per cent of adults claim to know exactly what to do in a fire – but 35 per cent would NOT consider dialling 999.
So while 71 per cent claim they know about emergency procedures, the first actions for many before fleeing a house fire would be to gather personal belongings, panic, scream, and hurl water or wet tea towels at the blaze.
And the findings show millions of homes across Britain contain fire hazards such as electrical sockets which are overloaded, glassware on window sills and flammable items left near cooker tops.
Four in 10 think nothing of leaving the TV on standby or smart phones on charge for a long period of time, while 36 per cent frequently drape clothes over hot radiators.
One in five even said they often leave candles unattended, while 16 per cent say they’ve left the house or gone to bed with their Christmas tree lights still switched on.
And as a result of the lack of knowledge, 54 per cent said they haven’t taught their children what to do in the event of a fire.
TOP 20 FIRE HAZARDS IN AND AROUND THE HOME
1. Leave the TV on standby
2. Leave a smart phone charging overnight
3. Leave clothes on a hot radiator
4. Leave glass (such as vases) on the windowsill
5. Leave a laptop charging overnight
6. Leave something cooking unattended on the hob
7. Over-clutter a storage cupboard
8. Leave the hob on by accident
9. Cook when very tired
10. Leave burning candles unattended
11. Go to bed with the Christmas tree lights on
12. Overload electrical sockets
13. Not wear gloves when handling sparklers
14. Forget to unplug hair straighteners
15. Leave tea towels close to the hob
16. Go inside while the barbeque is still burning
17. Leave the iron on unattended
18. Leave flammable items such as recipe books and paper towels next to the hob
19. Put a used sparkler on the ground
20. Go back to a lit firework
A spokesman for Fireman Sam, which commissioned the research to launch a new fire safety campaign ahead of Bonfire Night, said: “It’s worrying to see that homes are full of fire risks that could be easily prevented.
“It is very important at this time of year that people are fully aware of not only the fire risks around the home, but also when they are out and about enjoying Bonfire Night festivities with their families.
“It is very easy to forget about safety when you are having fun but a few easy steps could make all the difference in preventing any serious accidents”.
The study shows Brits think nothing of leaving something cooking unattended on the hob, or cooking when feeling very tired.
Thirteen per cent of people have left hair straighteners on, while 12 per cent have left the iron unattended.
In the lead up to bonfire night adults should take care, as many have been guilty of handling sparklers without gloves and then discarding the sparklers on the ground when finished, and even going back to a lit firework.
One in 10 people admit they’ve never tested their smoke alarm, while a further third only test it every six months to a year and 77 per cent don’t own a fire extinguisher.
The study shows many British adults are failing to undertake basic home maintenance which could also prevent a fire from starting.
Only 52 per cent ever clean out their toaster, while 54 per cent rarely turn off any of the electrical appliances in the home.
Only one in 10 people perform a floor to ceiling hazard check in all rooms of the house before going to bed, while six in 10 never clean out the link tray of the tumble dryer.
Getting the gas system checking by a professional would reduce the likelihood of gas related fires, and yet only 38 per cent of people have bothered. Similarly, only 19 per cent have had the house electrics checked.
When parents were asked why they hadn’t taught their own children basic fire safety skills, 26 per cent said they assumed it was covered at school.
A further 11 per cent say it is highly unlikely a fire would ever occur in the house, while 17 per cent are relying on their smoke alarms to alert the family to danger.
And ninety per cent of adults don’t have a fire safety plan to follow, instead a fifth reckon they’ll just shout ‘Fire!’ as loudly as they can, while 26 per cent would go and investigate where the fire was.
The Fireman Sam fire safety spokesman added: “Our advice to parents is always to be extra vigilant around the home and if they are out and about opt to attend a well-organised fireworks and bonfire display but importantly to make sure they have fun with their children too!”
Do you teach your children about fire safety? Do you have an emergency action plan?