Brits risk homes by neglecting safety checks

A new survey has revealed we have a pretty shocking lack of knowledge and understanding when it comes to home safety...

Gas stove left on
(Image credit: CPA)

How many of you do a quick sweep of your home before going to bed? Check the lights are off, front door is locked, haven't left the oven on, dog's not sleeping on the sofa? Despite these sounding like the most basic of safety checks (apart from the dog on sofa), so many of us are actually failing to do any of them. 

According to new research by the Consumer Protection Alliance (CPA), over half of Brits (52 per cent) don't know how to set their smoke alarm, 55 per cent do not unplug electric appliances that are not designed to be left on and a huge 62 per cent don't check to see if a gas hob has been turned off before going to bed. Almost a quarter of us (22 per cent) don't even check if our front doors are locked!

As part of the survey, CPA also looked into how often we carry out safety checks on our appliances. It was found that 44 per cent of those surveyed admitted that they do not carry out any safety checks; of those, 42 per cent don’t know how to check them and over a third (34 per cent) are not even aware of which appliances need checking.

Over quarter of those involved in the survey said that they would just wait until an appliance had broken down before getting it assessed and would often just wait to hear about some horror story before organising a home safety check. 

Infographic showing result of a survey into basic home safety checks

(Image credit: CPA)

According to the experts at National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting (NICEIC), this is unsurprisingly anxiety-inducing. 

'It’s worrying that the nation is turning their attention away from safety in the home, and that some wouldn’t even consider using the professionals in times of need,' comments Cheryl Cox, public affairs manager at NICEIC and member of the Consumer Protection Alliance (CPA). 'We tend to forget that our appliances such as the boiler, gas hob and hot water cylinder are used so frequently that they need extra maintenance. Everyone needs to be aware of the dangers and we believe that safety is paramount, and education is key.'

Here are the five basics that the CPA suggests every homeowner does:

1. Install smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors where appropriate and test them on a regular basis.

2. Arrange for an annual safety check on gas appliances, including you boiler, gas fire, gas hob and hot water cylinder. 

3. Carry out your own annual visual checks on plugs, sockets, cables, leads and light fittings and get help from a registered electrician if you find any issues. 

4. Arrange for an inspection and test of electrical installations every five years, regardless of whether the property is owned or rented.

5. When having a gas or electrical safety check carried out, always hire a registered, professional tradesperson such as those on the Gas Safe Register or those registered with NICEIC.


Hebe Hatton

Hebe joined the Real Homes team in early 2018 as Staff Writer before moving to the Livingetc team in 2021 where she took on a role as Digital Editor. She loves boho and 70's style and is a big fan of Instagram as a source of interiors inspiration. When she isn't writing about interiors, she is renovating her own spaces – be it wallpapering a hallway, painting kitchen cupboards or converting a van.