Whether you live in a listed mansion in the countryside or a chic apartment in the middle of the city, I think it's important that you're doing everything possible to minimise the risk of your home being damaged by fire. Even if you think that this is something that goes without saying, it's an issue that should never be underestimated.
As obvious as it sounds, a fire can cause substantial damage to your property and possessions (not to mention the dangers it poses to your health) and if you don't take the proper precautions it can be very costly and time-consuming to put right. This will be exacerbated even further if you live in a high-value home and/or own expensive goods, so in such cases it's worth putting in a greater amount of effort to minimise the chances of this happening to you.
Here is a rundown of some of the things you should look to do:
Fit smoke alarms
This is perhaps the most quickest and easiest thing that can be done to reduce the likelihood of a fire sweeping through your house, but you'd be surprised just how many people don't have smoke alarms in their home.
If you're looking to get some, make sure you seek out models that feature the British Standard kitemark (that way, you can be certain they will be reliable if maintained properly). While the kitchen is a fairly obvious place to install an alarm, it's also worth putting these items in places where a high number of electrical appliances are kept, such as the living room or bedroom.
Once they are fitted, you should avoid tampering with them or taking the batteries out - if you're going to disconnect the alarm, you might as well not bother having one in the first place. You'll also need to test and clean them on a regular basis to ensure they will go off when smoke is detected.
Be careful where you smoke
If you smoke myself, you need to bear in mind there's probably a greater chance of a fire accidentally starting in your home. However, you can reduce the likelihood of this happening to you by ensuring you never smoke in bed and that all cigarettes are stubbed out properly.
As obvious as it sounds, if you own delicate paintings in your home you should avoid lighting up close to them, while matches and lighters ought to be kept well away from children.
Take out adequate insurance
Taking the above steps should help to greatly minimise the chances of a fire occurring, but you should still remember things can still happen to your home that you will have little or no control over.
In the event of the unexpected occurring, I advise you always have a comprehensive level of home insurance. In doing so, you ought to find that even if your property is heavily damaged by fire you won't have to pay for it to be repaired yourself. As mentioned before, however, if you live in a high-value house and/or own lots of expensive possessions, you're likely to find a standard home insurance plan does not offer a sufficient amount of cover.
Instead, you're better off getting a high-risk home policy through a specialist broker. Doing so will ensure you'll be financially protected should the worst happen and won't have to pay for repairs or replacements to damaged goods out of your own pocket. Taking out such cover can prove particularly useful if you live in a property that has a thatched roof, as this kind of home is often deemed to be at greater risk of sustaining fire damage.