Home small business fire safety

Running a small business from home can increase your risk to dangers that would normally be managed within a traditional workplace.

Storing chemicals, flammable materials or lithium-ion batteries will change how the fire takes hold and will potentially make the fire more dangerous within a residential dwelling.

When running a small business from home, we recommend extra precautions to help reduce your risk.

Smoke alarms

What is the law? At least one working smoke alarm is installed on each level of your home. Reduce your risk further by installing a smoke alarm in all bedrooms and living areas of your home. 

Fire and Rescue NSW recommends:

  • Interconnected smoke alarms
    Interconnected smoke alarms will sound everywhere if one alarm is activated. This will mean that an alarm will go off in the bedroom to wake you up if there is a fire in the garage.
  • Heat alarms for areas not suitable for regular smoke alarms
    Heat alarms will detect a large increase in temperature and are recommended in garages and kitchens where exhaust fumes or cooking smoke may set off a regular smoke alarm.

Click here for further information about smoke alarms.

Hazardous chemicals storage

  • If you store hazardous chemicals at home, ensure their storage and use adheres to the manufacturer’s instructions and legislation. 
  • Ensure that you have the Materials Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) [external link] and inventory of chemicals on site available to pass onto emergency service personnel in an emergency.
  • Keep hazardous chemicals in a ventilated area away from exits and living spaces. 
  • Always ensure they are out of reach of children.

Learn more about chemical safety and storage here.

Charging and storing batteries

  • Large batteries like the ones used in e-scooters, e-bikes, and power-tools, should only be charged in the garage, shed or carport, away from living spaces and exits.
  • Do not charge batteries when sleeping or not at home.
  • Once the device has a full battery, disconnect it from the charger.
  • Only charge batteries on hard surfaces that can't catch on fire like concrete floors or tiles. Don't charge them on surfaces like beds, sofas, or carpet.

Click here to learn more about lithium-ion battery safety.

Flammable liquids and gases storage

  • Don’t store flammable liquids and gases near exits or living spaces.
  • Limit the amount of flammable liquids and gases that you store at home.
  • Store cylinders securely so that they can’t be knocked over.
  • Store liquids so if they leak, the leak is contained.

Electrical power boards

  • Don’t overload power points and power boards.
  • Never use faulty electrical leads or appliances.
  • Regularly check electrical equipment and leads for damage and faults.
  • Have your electrical equipment and leads tagged and tested regularly in accordance with AS/NZS 3760:2022.