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Home fire safety advice

Fire safety tips from AA Home Insurance

Smoke alarms & fire extinguishers

  • Install a working smoke alarms on every level of your home in accordance with the manufacturers' guidelines. Ideally you should have one in each bedroom and outside sleeping areas. Consider placing them along potential escape paths. In general you should place alarms in the centre of a ceiling or, if you place them on a wall, they should be 6 to 12 inches below the ceiling.
  • Replace smoke alarm batteries at least annually.
  • Test all smoke alarms in your house at least once a month.
  • Don’t place your smoke alarm too close to kitchen appliances or beside a chimney fire as this will lead to irritation.
  • Replace smoke alarms that are more than 10 years old. Smoke alarms don't last forever.
  • If your smoke alarm begins to chirp, signalling low battery power, replace the batteries immediately.
  • Keep fire extinguishers handy and know how to use them. Be prepared for any accidents by having fire extinguishers strategically placed around your house - at least one on each floor and in the kitchen.

Fire escape plan

  • Develop and practice a fire escape plan.
  • In the event of a fire get down low if you can. This may help your breath more easily and improve your visibility.
  • Once you are out of the home, never re-enter it until it has been declared safe to do so by the fire brigade.
  • If your primary escape path is blocked by smoke, flames, and heat, use your secondary escape method, such as an alternative door or window.


  • Always keeps an eye on food whilst it’s being heated.
  • Keep children away from appliances when cooking.
  • Roll-up sleeves or, if possible, wear short or tight fitting sleeves when cooking.
  • Try not to reach over the cooker.
  • Turn handles inward so pots and pans won't be pulled or knocked off the cooker.

Annual inspections

  • Have a professional technician inspect your heating, cooling, and water appliances annually.
  • Have the fireplace chimney checked and cleaned routinely by a chimney "sweep" at least once a year.

Electrical appliances

  • Don’t leave a portable heater operating unattended or operating while sleeping. Portable electric air heaters are designed for use only as temporary supplemental heating and only while attended.
  • Don’t use any electrical cord that is stiff or cracked. The insulation on electrical cords can become damaged by wear, flexing, or age.
  • Inspect electrical cords for frayed wires, which can cause fires. Replace all worn, old or damaged cords immediately.
  • Install additional receptacles where needed. Extension cords should never be used as a long-term solution to the need for installing additional receptacles.
  • Never use damaged electrical cords. Cords can become damaged when run under rugs or furniture.
  • Use caution when using electric blankets.
  • Replace or professionally repair any appliances that spark, smell unusual, or overheat.


  • Keep combustibles away from light bulbs. Light bulbs, especially halogen types, get very hot and can ignite combustible materials that get too close.
  • Never place clothing or towels on top of a lampshade. Do not use table lamps without a shade where they might fall over onto a bed or sofa.
  • View the Home Insurance Christmas light safety tips guide.

Open flames

  • Exercise caution when using candles. Do not leave candles unattended or lit while sleeping.
  • Candles should be kept away from combustibles. Extinguish candles when you leave the room. If power is out, consider using flashlights instead.
  • Never smoke in bed and extinguish tobacco products when tired.
  • Use an ash tray when smoking.

Your children

  • Keep matches and lighters out of the reach of young children.
  • Teach children the facts about fire.

Talk to our agents to buy or renew your House Insurance

Call AA House Insurance 0818 227 228. If you’re calling from outside Ireland, call +353 1 6179104. Agents are available to take your call from 09.00 to 19.00, Monday to Friday

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