A matter of life and death: 62% of UK consumers ...

A matter of life and death: 62% of UK consumers don’t know how to extinguish a fire safely

  • Consumers are confused and often choose the wrong option to extinguish a fire
  • New research reveals just one-in-four people believe they would choose the right type of extinguisher to put out a fire
  • At least two-thirds do not know how to extinguish a gas or cooking oil blaze

Oxfordshire, [date], 2019: More than two-thirds of us do not know how to extinguish a fire safely, according to new research. Findings from Firexo have revealed only four in 10 (38%) UK consumers claim to know which fire extinguisher to use for each class of fire, highlighting the confusion and danger people face when confronted with a blaze.  

The results are even more alarming when analysing consumers’ actual knowledge, with the overwhelming majority unable to identify how to correctly extinguish different classes of fire. When they were put to the test, 85% of those surveyed could not identify how to properly extinguish a gas fire and more than two-thirds (71%) did not know how to correctly put out a cooking oil fire; both of which are a potential threat in a domestic environment.

These concerning figures are exacerbated by the confusing requirements when tackling different classes of fire with the wide range of extinguisher options available. If the wrong extinguisher is used on a certain class of fire, the results can make the situation much more serious and potentially life threatening. For example, pouring water on an electrical fire can cause electrocution and if a carbon dioxide extinguisher is handled incorrectly it can lead to severe frostbite.

UK consumers are calling for a single solution to remove this issue, with more than three-quarters (76%) believing it would be helpful if there was one type of extinguisher available that can deal with any kind of blaze. More than two-thirds (69%) of those surveyed also revealed they would be more prepared to use a fire extinguisher if they were confident it was the correct type for the fire they were tackling.

“Our research has discovered some very frightening statistics about how people approach extinguishing fires. The overwhelming majority of consumers do not know how to extinguish fires correctly and are crying out for a solution that puts out all classes of fire, so they are spared the emotional impact of such disasters,” says Firexo CEO Dave Breith.

“Using the wrong extinguisher to put out a fire can often make the emergency much worse and lead to disastrous consequences, so it is imperative there is innovation in the fire safety industry to simplify solutions. The next stage in solving this problem is removing any confusion over the differences between extinguishers, and how they need to be used, to ensure consumers can safely tackle fires.

 “How you approach a fire is entirely dependent on the size of the blaze and the protection and safety equipment on hand. Evacuation will always be the best policy for large fires in a dwelling. However, a simple and effective solution in the home could empower, at their own discretion, members of the public to feel safer and more confident in tackling a small and manageable blaze before it has the chance to grow into a large fire that ends with the loss of possessions, property and even life. It takes the Fire Brigade on average eight minutes and 45 seconds to attend a call out. Stopping a small fire dead in its tracks rather than waiting for the emergency services might just mean the difference between a near miss and a major disaster.”