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Domestic Fires

By: Helena Stratford - Updated: 10 Feb 2013 | comments*Discuss
Fire Domestic Death House Homes Smoke

There is a domestic fire every eight minutes in the UK – a statistic which could be higher given that a massive proportion of accidental fires never reach the notice of the fire service.

So have a look at our domestic fire fact sheet and make sure you stay safe.

Injury And Death

Although the incidence of domestic fires has fallen slightly, recent governmental statistics nevertheless report that there are still 65,000 fires every year with a death rate of approximately 450 – that’s over 9 a week.

Roughly one third of fatalities in 2003 happened at night when people have been trapped in bed asleep.

3 out of 4 fire deaths happen in homes with another 13,800 people injured yearly.

Smoke Screen

Smoke from domestic fires can fill a house in minutes. In thick smoke, it is almost impossible to see and progress through the smoke reduces to an average speed of 30cm per second, rather than a metre or more.

Smoke is also very polluting. It can sting the eyes, and irritate the airways, making it difficult to breath.

The average cost of a house fire in terms of damage caused, is roughly £25-£30,000 whereas the investment in a smoke alarm can be as little as £5.00


Roughly 41% of house fire deaths occur because the person is trapped in the house. For this reason it is wise to pre-plan an escape route for all members of the household in case of emergency.

In incidents of armchair fires, research has shown that an escape in anything more than three minutes would be difficult, after which time, injuries sustained could be lethal.

If the fire starts during the night, you are three times more likely to perish.

Room Stats

Figures taken from 2003, show that 64 percent of domestic fires happened in the kitchen, with chip pan accidents accounting for 17 percent of all accidental house fires.

11% of fires started in the bedroom and 10% in the living room.

No Smoke Without Fire

  • Domestic fires are one and a half times more likely to occur if there is a smoker in the house.
  • Fires started by cigarettes make up about a third of all fatal domestic house fires.
  • You are twice as likely to die in homes which don’t have a functioning smoke alarm.
  • Approximately 90 people a year are killed due to non-working smoke detectors.

Fire Safety Tips – Act Now!

  • Plan an escape route from your house. In the event that you are trapped or blinded by smoke and cannot see, make sure there are indicators as to where you are.
  • Keep all window keys handy and in a place all members of the household know.
  • Install smoke alarms and test them regularly.
  • Use a fire guard.
  • Know how to handle a chip-pan fire and keep a fire blanket in the kitchen.
  • Do not leave fires or candles unattended or matches lying about.
  • Dispose of cigarettes safely and better still, give up smoking.
  • Never smoke in bed.
  • Safety check your appliances and the wiring in your house.

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