Check that all your winter essentials are fire-safe and remember a smoke alarm is the single most important piece of safety equipment in any home. Remember to test your smoke alarm on a regular basis as working smoke alarms save lives.
How are relatives and neighbours?
Take time to check on older relatives and neighbours, winter can be a tough time for some. Make sure that they are both warm and safe and have working smoke alarms installed. Ensure their smoke alarms are fitted in a place that will be audible from their bedrooms and consider making their smoke alarm more visible by putting a brightly coloured sticker on it to remind them to check it.
Have you swept your chimney?
The cold weather means many people will be lighting their chimneys. Ensure that they are dirt free to allow the free passage of dangerous combustion gasses; regular cleaning will remove soot and creosote, and help prevent dangerous chimney fires. Make sure your chimney is swept regularly by a registered chimney sweep.
Fires and heaters
Open fires can provide a relaxing and atmospheric way to keep warm, whereas portable heaters can be handily moved around but it’s important to use them safely:
Always use a fire guard to protect an open fire against flying sparks and hot embers and make sure embers are under control and properly put out before you go out or go to bed.
Keep portable heaters away from curtains and furniture and never use them for drying clothes. Always unplug electric heaters when you go out and go to bed.
Electric blankets can help you keep warm during the cold nights, but a fire can be devastating. Therefore, there are fire safety issues to consider:
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.
Store electric blankets flat, rolled up or loosely folded to prevent damaging the internal wiring.
Candles are growing in popularly and as with open fires, a naked flame brings risks if they are not treated carefully. Make sure that candles are secured in a proper holder, and away from materials that may catch fire like curtains. It is also very important that candles are put out completely when you leave the room or go to bed.