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How to stop fires happening in your home

Have you got the decorations up yet? As we decorate our homes for Christmas, with tinsel, wrapping paper and cards galore, we also need to think about keeping safe. Open fires, lit candles and Christmas decorations can be a dangerous combination. By buying furniture and soft furnishings that meet the legal standards for fire prevention, you can keep everyone safe this Christmas.

Fire safety standards

Last year, three fires a day and half of all fire deaths were caused by cigarettes that were left lying around, according to the London Fire Brigade. You can reduce this risk if you buy furniture that has covers, cushions and filling that is flame-resistant. Most reputable furniture stores, including Gloucester Furniture, make sure that the products they sell meet the fire-safety standards. Since the law was changed in 1998 to tell manufacturers which materials they can use to make furniture safe, it’s estimated that thousands of lives have been saved.


What are the standards?

Briefly, the law on new furnishings says that:

  1. Filling materials must meet specified ignition requirements
  2. Upholstery composites must be cigarette resistant
  3. Covers must be match resistant (with certain exceptions)
  4. A permanent label must be fitted to every item of new furniture (with the exception of mattresses and bed-bases)
  5. A display label must be fitted to every item of new furniture at the point of sale (with the exception of mattresses, bed-bases, pillows, scatter cushions, seat pads, loose covers sold separately from the furniture and stretch covers)
  6. The first supplier of domestic upholstered furniture in the UK must maintain records for five years to prove compliance.


It is against the law to sell furniture that isn’t labelled, or if materials used don’t meet these standards. It’s important for your family’s safety that you check and, if you’re not sure, please ask. At Gloucester Furniture, we’ll be happy to answer your questions.


Furniture is tested for fire safety

In the UK, materials used to make furniture are tested in controlled conditions to make sure that they are cigarette and match-resistant. If the furniture is made abroad, the importer must make sure the furniture is tested. All reputable retailers will make sure they only stock furniture that meets fire safety standards. You can find labels on the furniture that shows the materials used have passed the tests.

Second-hand furniture and fire safety

When you buy a new bed or sofa, you might want to pass on the old furniture, rather than throwing it out. Often charities won’t accept it unless it also meets the legal standards to protect anyone who buys or is given second hand furniture from fire risks. Check for the labels mentioned above. Landlords, hotels and other suppliers of furnished accommodation should check to make sure furniture meets the legal standards. If you’re thinking of buying second hand, check that the labelling shows the furniture has been tested. If you’re not sure, it might be better to buy new. We’re always happy to discuss fire safety testing with our customers at Gloucester Furniture.


You can read about the fire safety regulations regarding furniture by visiting the FIRA website [hyperlink to]


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