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Don't let your DIY efforts go up in flames this Easter

7th April 2009

With a busy weekend of ‘Do It Yourself’ activity ahead this Easter, North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service is issuing timely advice to all would be DIY enthusiasts.
At this time of year there can be an increase in calls found to have been caused by activities associated with DIY. These range from fires ignited by blow torches involved in paint stripping, to electrical appliances and other equipment which may have been stored in a damp garage or shed over the winter period.

The following safety tips should help ensure DIY enthusiasts stay fire safe over Easter:

  • Always check that the task you are undertaking is within your capabilities and take expert advice - many DIY superstores will offer such advice when you are buying materials and equipment. While you’re there, why not invest in a smoke alarm?
  • Safety instructions should be read in full and complied with.
  • Check you have the correct tool for the job.
  • Make sure children and pets are safe, with obstructions removed from your workplace.
  • Always uncoil electrical extension cables fully, as these can overheat and cause a fire.
  • Don’t use electrical equipment in the garden when it is raining.
  • Invest in a portable Residual Current Device (safety device that can save lives by instantly switching off power) for all those outside DIY jobs with electric tools.
  • Gas appliances should only be repaired by an approved contractor.
  • Flammable liquids should be used in accordance with manufacturer's instructions, secured in containers and used in small quantities, well away from the house and other risks like naked flames or cigarettes.
  • Ventilate when using adhesives and flammable liquids by opening windows and door and always ensure that no naked flames or power tools are close by. If you spill a substance on your clothing or overalls remove them and clean them thoroughly.     
  • Don’t leave electrical equipment plugged in whilst unattended.
  • Always check where electric wiring is running behind walls before attempting to drill holes.
  • Never attempt DIY electric wiring yourself in kitchens or bathrooms
  • Remember it’s important to have a working smoke alarm installed in your home. You are twice as likely to die in a house fire if you do not have a working smoke alarm, so it is vital to think of fire safety while you are carrying out your household chores. Make sure you own and maintain every smoke alarm in your home. Get into a routine – it only takes a matter of seconds each week to test the alarm that could save your life.

DIY electrical work in homes is covered by Building Regulations. You can still do your own work, but some riskier jobs may need to be approved by your local authority's Building Control Department.  For information on the rules affecting people carrying out electrical work in homes and gardens call Communities and Local Government free on 0870 1226 236. Alternatively, call your local authority's Building Control Department for advice.

North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service offers free Home Fire Risk Checks, to give you advice on fire safety in the home; actions you can take to reduce the risk of fire and injury, and go through escape routes should a fire happen. Contact our Fire Safety Advice Line 01609 788545.

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