Fire safety – The rising risk of magnifying mirrors

Most people think of electrical sparks or kitchen mishaps when it comes to home fires, but there’s a surprising hidden danger lurking in plain sight.

While electrical appliances, candles, and cooking still cause most house fires1, are seeing a growing number of fires ignited by reflective glass and mirrors, especially magnifying ones.

According to the Fire and Rescue service, these types of fires tend to start in January (when the sun is at it’s closest to Earth) and continue to spike through to March2. It is important to note however, that this type of fire could occur at any point in the year.

You may ask yourself; how can a small mirror start set something alight? Fires caused by the reflection/magnification of glass typically occur when glass items are left on window sills (particularly in the bathroom) or are facing the sun and ignite nearby ‘combustible items’.

Examples of household glass items:

  • Mirrors, magnifying mirrors in particular
  • Glass ornaments including paper weights
  • Jewellery and stones

Examples of household combustible items:

  • Aerosols, deodorant and other flammable materials
  • Cloths
  • Oil
  • Paper, wood

Even though household fires occurring this way are not fatal, it is still a stressful time and many personal items can be lost. As we know, prevention is the best cure. Here are some top fire safety tips to stop the worst from happening:

  • Keep mirrors out of direct sunlight
  • Never place glass paperweights/ornaments in direct sun or on window sills
  • Ensure vanity, reflective or shaving mirrors are put away and not left on sills
  • Ensure you have a smoke alarm on every level of your home and that they work

If the worst does occur, you can have peace of mind knowing that you are covered. While most Home Insurance policies do account for fire damage, the amount that will be covered is judged by your individual policy. At Attis Insurance Brokers, we can talk you through everything you need to know so you know exactly what is and what isn’t covered.

1 Reduce your risk of having a fire at home (dsfire.gov.uk)

Fire Service warning after two fires started by sunlight reflecting off mirrors | Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service (merseyfire.gov.uk)