Help Protect Your Garden Shed Against Fire

August 13 2020

Help protect your garden shed against fire

Even a quick online search for “shed fire” returns a worrying number of results in the UK. In the first few months of summer 2020, dozens of fires in garden sheds were reported across the country, from Somerset to Suffolk. On the Isle of Wight a fire spread through five sheds, destroying 10 motorcycles, while in the West Midlands a shed blaze caused significant damage after it spread to neighbouring homes.

But why are shed fires so common and what can be done to protect against them?

The perfect storm

Unfortunately, many sheds are the ideal environment for a fire to take hold. Combustion needs three things: oxygen heat and fuel. Sheds are usually made of wood, they’re sited outdoors and often contain highly flammable items such as chemicals, gas, or fuels. Introduce heat, sparks and embers from tools, barbecues or even bonfires and it’s easy to see why sheds can be such a dangerous breeding ground for fire.

How to guard against shed fires

Starving a fire of the things it needs to thrive is a good place to start.

  • Ensure substances like paint thinners, gas cylinders and oils are stored in your shed safely and securely in approved containers
  • Dispose of any flammable items you’re unlikely to use in the future (most council tips will be able to help you get rid of these safely)
  • Make sure electrical items are working correctly, with no damage to cables
  • Avoid storing barbecues in sheds until they are completely cooled
  • Position bonfires, barbecues, firepits and chimineas as far from sheds and outbuildings as possible and make sure all shed doors and windows are closed before lighting

Further steps to consider

Arson is relatively rare, but thieves and vandals can still unwittingly cause shed fires by disturbing flammable items. Discourage opportunists by installing security lights and CCTV cameras overlooking exterior spaces. Also, be careful not to place sheds next to your home – if the worst should happen it allows flames to spread to the main property much more easily.

Stay safe and enjoy your garden

Enjoying the warm weather in the tranquility of your own garden is one of the real pleasures of summer. Barbecues, firepits and chimineas are a big part of the experience, but bring their own responsibilities. Our guide to preventing shed fires is a great introduction to staying safe but if you need any more guidance simply search online for details of your local community fire safety team who will usually be happy to organise a free home fire safety visit.

And if you want any more information on how ADT can help with any aspect of fire safety or home security then do get in touch.

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