Today looks like it is set to be the hottest day of the year and, with millions of us still in lockdown, homeowners are being urged to take extra care at home following a recent rise in house fires.
Life under lockdown has seen Lloyds Bank Home insurance record a 91% increase in fire claims between March and May alone. On top of this, there has also been a 10% increase in fire claims between spring 2019 and spring 2020.
Top tips to prevent against house fires:
1: Be careful when cooking outside: there’s nothing better than a barbeque on a sunny day, but cooking outside can increase the risk of fires. Make sure there are no overhanging branches or nearby fences before you start your barbeque and that it’s placed securely on a flat surface.
2: Take care with outdoor flames: fire pits and outdoor candles can create an inviting ambience when spending time outside but can also be a fire risk. Make sure fire pits are set up on stable surfaces and avoid using during windy conditions. Safety screens should be used when using fire pits and outdoor candles properly extinguished once you go back indoors.
3: Store barbeques away carefully: embers can remain hot hours after use if not properly extinguished and lead to a potential fire so keep a close eye on barbeques for a few hours after you have finished cooking. Make sure barbeques are properly extinguished before storing away.
4: Do not charge phones, laptops and other electronic devices near soft furnishings: devices and switches may overheat in the warmer months, especially if being charged under pillows or cushions, so take care when charging phones.
5: Beware of mirrors: sunlight shining onto mirrors or glass ornaments on sunny days can be reflected onto soft furnishings increasing the risk of a fire. Keep mirrors and glass ornaments away from windows and windowsills.
6: Take care of tumble dryers: remove lint from the tumble dryer after every load of clothes that you dry and do not cover any vent or openings on the machine. It’s also important to regularly clean the machine and don’t use them while you are sleeping or away from your home.
7: Have your air conditioner inspected: dirty coils, clogged filters, and worn wiring can all lead to fires as dust builds up in air conditioning systems. Regular maintenance of cooling systems can help prevent fires. When you are out of the house, keep air conditioners switched off.
8: Insurance details: Make sure you have the details of your insurer to hand should the worst happen.
Tim Downes, Senior Claims Manager, Lloyds Bank Home Insurance, said: “With the nation spending more time at home, there’s an increased risk of accidents, including house fires.
“Many of us already know it’s important to take care around things like barbecues and candles, but homeowners also need to take care around the less obvious things - phones left charging in warm rooms, mirrors next to sunny windows and even appliances like air conditioners and tumble dryers can all be unexpected sources of fires.
“The positive side of more of us being at home means that should a fire occur, it’s more likely to be put out quickly. Following a few of our top tips should hopefully help homeowners stay safe at home while the sun shines.”