The Great Fire of London - 350 years ago but still a risk

We’re still making the mistake that started the Great Fire of London

Updated: 
London's Burning festival

The Great Fire of London raged through the city 350 years ago - destroying a quarter of all the buildings in London. Clearly if a fire like this started today, there's no chance it would be allowed to do so much damage. However, the experts have pointed out that the cause of The Great Fire of London is still the most common cause of fires in the home - and it doesn't have to be a 'great' fire in order to be a terrible one.

The Great Fire of London famously started at a bakery in Pudding Lane, when an oven malfunctioned. According to home insurer Policy Expert, ovens still cause half of all house fires. A third of the time the problem is misuse, but according to Co-op Insurance, electrical faults now account for 27% of all fire claims too.

Protect yourself

Quite aside from the risks to you and your family, fires can cause an awful lot of damage in a very short period of time. The Co-op says that the average fire claim is £14,000. It's therefore worth taking these ten steps to prevent fires at home.

1. Switch off and unplug electrical appliances when they're not in use (and certainly don't run things like washing machines or dryers when you're out or in bed). If an electrical fault happens when you are out of the room or out of the house, then the fire is much more dangerous.

2. Replace any faulty leads. According to Policy Expert, the latest report on fire statistics in England by the Home Office shows the second largest cause of accidental fires in the home was faulty appliances and leads.

3. Use official and original chargers and electrical cables. The Co-op warns that counterfeit ones are often made with poor quality components that fail to meet UK safety regulations.

4. When charging, the Co-op insists that it's vital not to charge a battery that looks like it has been damaged or dropped, and not to cover the item while charging, because it gives off heat.

5. Don't leave appliances charging unsupervised for long periods of time.

6. Don't overload extension cables with multiple appliances, it's advised to use one plug per socket.

7. Make sure you have a smoke alarm fitted in the home and regularly check it to make sure it works.

8. Don't forget to check the batteries. According to Policy Expert, 31% of all house fires in 2014/15 were cases where a smoke alarm was faulty.

9. Never leave a lit candle unattended. In any given year, there are around 1,000 fires in the UK caused by candles.

10. Make sure you've got the right cover. Nearly all standard home insurance policies cover you in the event of a fire damaging your home or possessions. However, certain conditions may invalidate this - like if you state there aren't any smokers in the home when there actually are, or if you state you have a working fire alarm but it is faulty. Always check with your provider to make sure you've got the right policy for your needs.

Its Been 350 Years Since Great Fire of London

Celebrities who insured their bodies

Celebrities who insured their bodies