With colder weather on the horizon, Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service has issued advice to local people on the best ways to stay safe and warm in the colder and darker months.
Safe & Well Manager Vikki Thomas said: “Although December has been mild, the colder weather is just around the corner. As it gets colder, it’s inevitable that people will spend more time indoors staying as warm as possible. Using additional heating is understandable, but this can increase the risk of fire. By following some simple rules, you can stay safe and warm.”
She added: “We are here to help and offer advice. If you are in doubt over any fire safety issues, please do get in touch, and always remember to test your smoke detector every week, as working smoke detectors save lives. We’d also recommend carbon monoxide alarms to warn against the risk of CO poisoning – it could be the best thing you buy in 2018.”
Open fires can provide a relaxing and atmospheric way to keep warm, whereas portable heaters are handy to move around – but it’s important to use them safely:
- Always use a fire guard to protect against flying sparks and hot embers from an open fire.
- Use a metal container to store any ashes.
- Make sure ashes are not left near any potentially flammable objects.
- Ensure ashes are completely out before disposing.
- Make sure embers are under control and properly extinguished before you go out or go to bed.
- Get your chimney swept regularly.
- Keep heaters at least one metre (3ft) away from curtains and furniture andnever use them for drying clothes.
- Always unplug electric heaters when you go out or go to bed.
- Gas fires should be serviced every year by a competent engineer.
- Electric blankets can help you keep warm during the cold nights, but they can be a danger if not used properly – 440 injuries result from every 1,000 fires started by an electric blanket:
- Never use hot water bottles in the same bed as an electric blanket, even if the blanket is switched off.
- Unplug blankets before you get into bed, unless they have a thermostat control for safe all-night use.
- Don’t fold up electric blankets as this damages the internal wiring. Store them flat or rolled up instead.
Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service offers free Safe & Well visits where we visit your house at a convenient time to see what we can do to make you safer, as well as free Winter Warmer pack to those who qualify.
To find out more, call 0800 038 2323 or visit www.dwfire.org.uk