Skip to main content



It’s pretty much the greatest nightmare of any reader of the Ask Granny ( senior citizens online guide – what if a fire breaks out in your home, and you and your loved ones, potentially including grandchildren, are trapped inside? It’s a horrible thing to think about, but think about it we must, because to give just one example, 226 people in the UK died in house fires last year. Indeed, the following fire safety tips and statistics are British-centric, although many of the same tips are also applicable anywhere in the world.

If you’ve ever been involved in a domestic fire, then you’ll already know about the panicking and the rush to get yourself and your loved ones to a safe place, before calling the emergency services. We are all thankful for the sterling and brave work done by fire and rescue services every day, but avoiding a fire in the first place is obviously infinitely preferable – which is why you may want to ask your local fire service whether they can give you a free home safety check and/or smoke alarm. Fitting and knowing how to maintain a smoke alarm is especially vital for anyone who is concerned about their grandparents health in the event of fire.

To determine whether your smoke alarm’s battery is still charged and the alarm is ready and working, simply press the test button – which we’d recommend you do every week. You might want to set a reminder on your phone or tablet computer to ensure that you don’t forget. We would also urge all readers of our online guide for grandparents to have a fire action plan, communicating it to every member of the household. That way, everyone will know how to escape the property if the worst does happen.

There are loads more things that you can do to minimise the risk of fire – such as never leaving lit candles unattended or smoking in bed. If you do smoke, then you should ensure that you stub out cigarettes and dispose of them carefully. Lighters and matches should also be kept away from the wandering hands of grandchildren, and clothing should also be kept out of the way of heating appliances. Oh, and be sure to take care when cooking with grandchildren, because cooking actually accounts for 59% of home fires. You should be especially careful when you are cooking with hot oil, and might want to consider thermostatically controlled deep fat fryers.

Special care should also be taken when you are tired or have been drinking, given that half of all domestic fire deaths take place between 10pm and 8am. Indeed, although many of these tips from the Ask Granny ( grandparents journal may seem like simple common sense, it is so often the simple – but vitally important – advice that people fail to follow. By making yourself aware of these tips, you can take those vital steps to safeguarding you and your loved ones.