Thankfully, simple measures can be taken to reduce the risk of most types of fire.
Dr Glockling identifies the main risks:
Criminals sometimes start a fire to destroy evidence, but this is rarely planned in advance. Deter burglars in the first place by making sure that your home is secure and remove rubbish and excess vegetation that could be set alight by an opportunistic thief.
A consumer unit or fuse box controls and distributes the energy in your home. Modern units offer much better protection against surges and other faults, so it’s worth making sure that the unit and wiring are up-to-date.
If you find that plugs or sockets are getting warm, or you are regularly replacing the same fuse, it’s best to investigate further.
3. Naked flames
Naked flames are still a major cause of household fires. Make sure candles or other flames are secured in a heat-resistant holder and placed at a safe distance from loose furnishings, hair and clothing.
4. Poorly positioned heating and lighting equipment
When used sensibly most modern appliances and fittings are quite safe, but they do have the potential to ignite local material.
In the kitchen, avoid fat and grease build-up near your cooker and make sure that tea towels and food packaging are not in danger of overheating or catching fire.
The positioning of halogen lighting can be a particular problem, he warns. Look out for security lights that have been placed too close to combustible materials, or have gradually changed their position in the wind to concentrate their heat on the building.
According to Fire Statistics Great Britain 2013-2014, smokers’ materials such as cigarettes, cigars or tobacco caused 37% of deaths in accidental domestic fires.
To avoid a smoking-related fire, London Fire Brigade suggests not smoking in bed or when you think you might fall asleep, using a fireproof ashtray and emptying it regularly, stubbing cigarettes out properly and wetting ashes before disposing of them.
6. Fuel storage
Avoid drying logs near your wood-burning stove and consider how safe any flammable liquids in your garage are.
7. Abuse/incorrect operation of equipment
There is also a known problem with USB chargers at the moment, says Glockling. Because these are “universal power supplies”, the wrong devices are often plugged into them. We’ve seen particular issues with people trying to charge their iPhone using the USB plug for their electronic cigarettes, for example.
Trying to draw too much from one socket can also be dangerous. Find out whether you could be overloading your sockets.
8. Equipment malfunction
Occasionally the equipment itself will malfunction. Make sure that you turn off and unplug appliances before leaving the house or going to bed and that you regularly check your smoke alarms. Alarms that are integrated with the local fire service are the best.