With the temperatures having dropped dramatically in the past week, and the forecast predicting worse to come, Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service has issued a warning to people to put safety first in their efforts to keep warm.
Safe & Well Manager Vikki Thomas said: “Whenever the temperatures start to drop, we know that people will get heaters and electric blankets out of storage, but we also know that lots of households are doing things differently at the moment to try and save money. Whether that’s using an open fire for the first time in years, or delaying essential maintenance of boilers, the risks could be far greater than any cash saving, so we’re urging everyone to take extra care and #SaveSafely.
“We are here to help and offer advice. If you are in doubt over any home 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 this year. Anyone concerned that they may not have sufficient smoke or carbon monoxide detection in their home can ask us for a free Safe & Well check. Please call free on 0800 038 2323 or visit www.dwfire.org.uk/safe-and-well-visits to find out more.”
Safety advice includes:
- Using camping stoves or barbecues indoors is really dangerous. They are designed to be used outside only, and they can cause carbon monoxide poisoning – even if you have the doors and windows open. It’s the same with patio heaters, they are only suitable to use outside.
- Electric heaters or electric blankets that haven’t been used for years can be a fire risk. Watch for signs of dangerous or loose wiring, such as scorch marks, hot plugs and sockets, fuses that often blow, or circuit breakers that trip for no obvious reasons.
- Make sure you are using the right heater in the right place. Standard gas or electric portable heaters must not be used in shower rooms or bathrooms. Portable gas heaters should only be used in well-ventilated rooms and never in bedrooms. Outdoor heaters should never be used indoors.
- An electric blanket that has been stored folded may have damage to the internal wiring. It’s safest to store them flat or rolled up.
- If you’re drying clothes indoors rather than use a tumble dryer, keep them well away from the heat source so they can’t catch fire.
- Getting chimneys swept when you have a woodburner or open fire is essential to reduce the risk of chimney fires. Also be careful of what you burn; green (unseasoned) wood may seem cheap, but it doesn’t create much heat and it creates a residue that can easily catch alight within the chimney.
- Not getting your boiler serviced is a false economy – a well maintained boiler is more efficient and reduces the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using wheat bags – don’t heat them for too long, or at too high a temperature.
More advice on how to #SaveSafely this winter can be found at www.dwfire.org.uk/save-safely
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