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Fire safety in the home

Most of those who die in fires in their own home die of smoke poisoning. The correct fire protection equipment reduces the risk of injury or death in the event of fire.

Smoke detectors

Smoke detectors save lives every year. All homes must have at least one approved smoke detector. If the house or apartment is big or has several floors, it should be fitted with several smoke detectors. The location of the smoke detector is very important in relation to how quickly it detects smoke. The detectors should be placed near stairs and in escape routes, at the highest point of the ceiling and at least 50 centimetres from walls (follow the installation instructions). The smoke alarm must be clearly audible in all bedrooms with the door closed. The smoke detectors should be connected in series, so that they all go off at the same time.

The owner of the house is responsible for fitting smoke detectors. The person using the house/apartment is responsible for testing the smoke detector (by pressing the test button) and changing batteries. The smoke detector should be tested every month, and the batteries should be changed once a year.

Fire extinguishers are mandatory

All homes must have a fire extinguisher. This can be in the form either of a fire hose or a portable extinguisher (with a minimum effect of 21A). It is the owner of the property’s responsibility to install fire extinguishing equipment and it's maintenance. The equipment must be visible, easily accessible and well maintained, and the residents of the house or apartment must know how to use it.

If the situation permits, adults and older children can try to put out the fire using a fire hose or portable extinguisher. Do not expose yourself to great danger; smoke from a fire is very toxic.

The most important thing is to save lives and call for help. Do not try to put out the fire if the situation feels threatening. Leave the building and call the fire service using the emergency telephone number 110. All citizens have a duty to report fires (110). Always state the address where the fire is.

Fire drills at home

Carry out regular fire drills with your family. Agree procedures for how to alert others, call the fire service and evacuate the building. Practise what you have agreed during fire drills. Talk to your children about fires and fire prevention.

Tips on how to avoid a fire in your home

- Only use the cooker, washing machine and tumble-dryer when you are at home and awake. Make sure that they are turned off when not in use
- Turn off the TV by pressing the off-button on the appliance, not just on the remote
- Check that there are no candles burning when you leave the room
- Check that electric heaters are not covered
- Clean the kitchen fan of grease
- Check for scorch marks or excessive heat in the fuse box
- Check cords, plugs, sockets and lamps for scorch marks.
Check the electrical system

Landlords and tenants are encouraged to be alert and to check that the system is not overloaded, as it may cause a fire.

It is the landlord’s responsibility to ensure that the electrical system is in accordance with the regulations and that it can take the load it is subjected to. In cold weather, we use more electricity for heating and the danger of overloading increases.

Although the fuses are meant to protect the electrical system against damage, overloading can cause fires, especially if the system is old and in need of maintenance. If the fuses tend to blow often, they are overloaded. You should reduce your electricity consumption or spread the heat sources between more circuits.

Landlords and tenants can carry out a simple but important check themselves

• Ensure that all screw-in fuses are tightened
• If the fuses are too hot to touch, they are overloaded. The same applies if the fuses blow often
• Check for brown discolouring on sockets, cords and connections – this is a sign that they are damaged and must be disconnected and replaced. The smell of burnt material is also a warning sign
• If serious faults or damage are suspected, the landlord must disconnect relevant equipment/fuses and contact a registered electrician.

Other tips

• Electrical heaters must be directly connected to the socket – avoid the use of extension cords.
• Keep an eye on movable heat sources and the distance to flammable material. Check that electric heaters are not covered.
• Movable heaters should only be used under supervision.
• Ensure that electrical systems and equipment are well maintained and in accordance with regulations. Contact a registered electrician to check the system.
• When you discover faults in the electrical system, contact the landlord or an electrician so that it can be fixed.

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