In the winter, the temperature can easily drop well below freezing at night. It often struggles to get much above that during the day in a cold snap, too. If you have a real fire, there’s nothing better than popping on a couple of logs or whatever else your fire uses, and waiting for the flickering flames and heat to warm up the room. Some more powerful fires are capable of heating up more than just one room, too. This leads to the question of whether you can leave a fire burning overnight.
Obviously, you want to minimise the risk of a fire breaking out as much as possible. More than 200 people died in home fires in 2015 alone. If you have an open fire, proper maintenance is essential. The London Fire Brigade recommends you have your chimney swept by an expert twice-yearly if you use logs. An annual sweeping is recommended for coal fires.
Would it be safe to leave a fire burning overnight?
It is not advisable to leave a fire burning overnight, since this constitutes a fire hazard. You can never be certain how a fire is going to behave. No doubt you’ve noticed your own fire is unpredictable at times. A slight movement of a log can send sparks flying and increase the chances of a fire taking hold that isn’t confined to the fireplace.
If you are on hand to tend to the fire and keep an eye on it, the chances of a real fire taking hold are slim. However, if you go to bed and leave a fire burning overnight, you won’t know if something goes wrong.
Remember, too, that a smoke alarm is vitally important and it could save your life. Did you know you are twice as likely to perish in a fire if you haven’t installed a working smoke alarm? Check the batteries regularly – monthly, ideally – and change them when needed. That way, if you did forget and leave a fire burning overnight, you’d be alerted to smoke if something went wrong. It’s still best to fully extinguish a fire before turning in for the night, though.
What about electric fires?
When we talk about whether to leave a fire burning overnight, we’re focusing on real fires. However, it’s worth remembering electric fires also present a potential hazard. Many people rely on them to heat a room during the winter – perhaps just a guest room when someone is staying, for example.
If you do this, you should only leave the heater on when someone is in the room. You should also ensure it is standing safely and in a stable position. Make sure no one can knock into it or knock anything onto it. The heat from an electric fire can be enough to start a fire and if this happens, it can spread very quickly. So, practising good safety with all fires is a good idea if you want to prevent injuries and burns from occurring.
Preventing fatalities and injuries from occurring
From 2015 to 2016, there were 303 fire-related fatalities in England alone. Real fires were not the cause of all these, of course, but those 303 deaths did not just affect the people who lost their lives. Friends and family members will have lost a loved one in each incident, and since many fires can be prevented if the proper steps are taken, knowing how to keep your home safe from fire is a crucial step in the right direction.
Using a fire guard is a good idea when the fire is burning, but you should always ensure the fire is completely out before retiring to bed for the night. Even if it looks as though it has extinguished, this may not be true. The slightest glowing ember may still have the potential to trigger a fire. Rake over the ashes to make sure no glowing embers remain, and put your fire guard in place as well. Furthermore, make sure no pets or children can get into the room as this will help ensure you are safe from harm. It is also a good idea to shut the door to the room the fire is in, just in case a fire did break out. It will give you additional valuable time to get out as the fire will be contained to the one room for longer – long enough for the fire brigade to attend your property.
Thousands of people receive burn injuries each year
Statistics show that 130,000 people receive burn injuries annually. Around 10,000 of those will need to stay in hospital for treatment. If you’ve been burned in a fire or encounter an unguarded fire, perhaps while staying somewhere on holiday, or while working near a fire at work, you may have an opportunity to claim compensation. While you know now you should never leave a fire burning overnight, not everyone adheres to this safety rule. If you have been hurt and you believe someone else was negligent in letting the situation arise, you should contact us at Accident Advice Helpline to see if we can help.
We’ve managed to secure compensation for thousands of people, thanks to more than 16 years’ experience in the field of personal injury compensation claims. There is a chance we could secure compensation for you as well, if your case proves a third party was negligent. To find out if this is true, call 0800 689 0500 now, or 0333 500 0993 from a mobile phone.
Suffering from burns means you may require extensive treatment, perhaps including skin grafts if the burns are severe. Coming to terms with the accident and injuries you suffered is difficult, and you may struggle emotionally as well as recovering physically. Make sure you know whether you could receive a financial award to ease the situation you have found yourself in. Even if you are uncertain of the grounds for a claim, call now to find out more.
Date Published: December 9, 2015
Author: David Brown