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Fire safety in the living room

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We live in an age with many electronic items, e.g. big screen televisions, dvd/video players, computers, playstations, etc. and these items are very often found in the living room. As well as the items just mentioned the living room contains a lot of furniture, ornaments, candles, carpets/wooden flooring, video tapes/dvd's, photographs, and the list goes on. It is no wonder then that many fires involve the living room.

It is very important that the door to the living room and all doors of the house are closed before going to bed because if there is a fire this will slow down the spread of fire and smoke.

Tips to improve safety in the living room


  • Never overload electric sockets.
  • If you need more electric sockets have then installed by a qualified electrician.
  • Make sure that you use the correct fuses in your appliances.
  • Unplug all unnecessary electrical appliances at night-time.
  • If electrical equipment is designed to be on all night install a smoke alarm in the room.


  • Make sure that there are sufficient ashtrays in the room.
  • Make sure to keep the ashtrays empty after use and dispose of contents carefully (running cold water over them).
  • Never smoke when tired or after consuming alcohol as cigarette butts, if dropped, can stay lit for long periods could start a fire.
  • Never leave lit cigarettes unattended.
  • Keep matches and lighters in a safe place and away from children.

Chimney Cleaning

The best way to deal with a chimney fire is not to allow one start in the first place. To prevent a chimney flue fire make sure that it is cleaned regularly - follow this recommended cleaning guide:

  • Wood burning fires - Four times a year
  • Solid fuel fires - Once a year if using smokeless fuel
  • Solid fuel fires - Twice a year if using coal
  • Oil fires - Once a year during servicing of boiler
  • Gas fires - Once a year during servicing of boiler
  • Stoves - As recommended by supplier

Chimney Fires

Chimney fires occur when deposits of carbon and dust accumulate in a chimney and are set alight by sparks/heat from an open fire. Should you be unlucky enough to have a chimney fire in your home follow the recommendations below as to what you should do. You should only attempt to extinguish the fire if it is safe for you to do so.

  • Place a spark guard in front of the fire to stop hot soot from falling out.
  • Phone the Fire Brigade and keep a watchful eye on the fire.
  • Smoke may have built up in the room so move everyone out.
  • Move furniture and carpets away from the fireplace if possible.


  • Never use petrol or similar liquid fuels to light a fire in your home.
  • Only burn materials suitable for the fireplace/stove.
  • Ensure that there is proper ventilation in the room when using all types of heating appliances.
  • Always place an effective, proper fitting, spark-guard in front of open fires.
  • Keep the area around the fireplace clear of newspapers, books, clothes and other combustibles.
  • Avoid hanging a mirror over the fireplace as this attracts people to stand too close to the fire.
  • Don't air clothes at an open fire.
  • Hot ashes should be disposed of carefully in a tin bucket and not put into plastic bins while still hot.

Portable Heaters

  • Treat a portable heater the same way as you would a solid fuel fire.
  • Use a guard around it to protect from interference from children, pets, etc.
  • Keep away from all combustibles e.g. furniture, curtains, etc.
  • Place the heater where it cannot be knocked over.
  • Do not dry clothes on or in front of heaters.
  • Keep flammable substances such as aerosols, adhesives, cleaning fluids, etc. away from heaters.
  • Do not move a heater when it is on or still hot.


  • Ensure that they are used in proper, fire safe, containers and on a heat resistant surface.
  • Ensure that they are not left on a surface where they can be easily knocked over.
  • Ensure that they are never left unattended.
  • Keep candles away from draughts.
  • Ensure that they are not left where children or pets can get to them.
  • Ensure that there is nothing combustible in range above and around the candle.
  • Never put lit candles on top of televisions, etc.
  • Never move a candle when it is lit. Extinguish and allow it to cool down first.

Contact Details:

National Directorate for Fire and Emergency Management
The Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government
Rm. G59
Custom House
Dublin 1
D01 W6X0

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