Flammable WarningsThere was a house fire in Sibford Gower, a little outside Northampton at the beginning of this month that we can all learn from. It may seem like a freak accident but the warnings to prevent such accidents are all there.

The fire started due to flammable household materials being left in direct sunlight. It’s nice in these summer months with the sun coming in through the windows and it doesn’t feel strong enough to be a hazard, but we are all aware of the greenhouse effect – glass can really amplify the heat of those rays. The fire service issue warnings not to leave glass bottles behind in the sunshine after camping or picnicking in fields as they can turn sunlight and dried grass into a fire.

At home or in your business the windows of your premises may pose the same risk with what you might consider every day materials. When we see and use products every day we can become blind to them. All products these days come with relevant warnings on the packaging if they pose such a risks and therefore should be stored only in the recommended conditions.

All materials on your business premises should be considered in your risk assessments. At home there is no requirement for written risk assessments but that does not mean you do not carry them out to some degree. The warnings are still there on the packaging to make this easier – to keep out of direct sunlight or to store in a cool dry place for example. The recent fire near Northampton is a warning to us all to pay attention to these warnings, to consider them in risk assessments at work and to consider them when organising yourself at home. Make sure your family are aware of these risks and keep such materials away from children.

If there is a flammable warning and is left in direct sunlight there is a chance that this will cause a fire which can be devastating to everyone involved. Fortunately the residents in this property had smoke alarms which alerted a passer-by who called the emergency services who sent fire crews from Banbury and Chipping Norton so no one was hurt.