With temperatures set to take a dip this weekend, Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service is urging people to consider fire safety when trying to keep warm.
"We would also ask members of the community to check on vulnerable friends, neighbours and members of family to make sure that they are as safe as possible."
Head of Risk Reduction, Glynn Luznyj
Last year, the Service attended a number of incidents caused by heating appliances, open fires and chimneys. The Service is hoping there are no repeat incidents similar to the six fatal fires which happened in 2010 as a result of heating equipment.
Head of Risk Reduction, Glynn Luznyj said: "We urge people to take extra care when using portable heaters and open or gas fires by not getting too close to them and by keeping flammable materials, such as clothes and curtains, a safe distance away.
"People who have open fires or wood burners should ensure that any wood being used as fuel is dry, as damp wood often spits when it is set alight. The tragic fire in Derbyshire last year, in which four children died, was caused by damp wood which spitted and ignited, as there was no fire guard in place.
"Residents are also encouraged to fit carbon monoxide alarms in their homes and test them on a regular basis as you would your smoke alarms. If your carbon monoxide alarm activates, our advice is to turn off any gas appliances straight away and open as many doors and windows as possible.
"If anyone experiences any symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, such as headaches, dizziness or vomiting, call us and move to a location that has fresh air as soon as possible. We have specialist gas monitors which give a reading on any carbon monoxide presence and can then advise you what to do next.
"We would also ask members of the community to check on vulnerable friends, neighbours and members of family to make sure that they are as safe as possible.
"If anyone would like further advice on fire safety in the home, we can provide a free Home Fire Risk Check. Simply call 0800 0241 999 and we will arrange to come out to your property at a mutually convenient time and date."
A Home Fire Risk Check involves firefighters or a service technician visiting your home to give fire safety advice and fitting equipment such as smoke alarms to ensure you are safer in your home. All firefighters and service technicians carry an I.D card. Although checks to the elderly and vulnerable are prioritised, the service is open to everyone.
Tips on staying safe this winter
Unplug your electric blanket before you get into bed, unless it has a thermostat control for safe all-night use.
Always position heaters so their back is against a wall and they’re facing the room.
Never use portable heaters for drying clothes.
Make sure candles are in a proper holder and away from materials that may catch fire such as curtains.
Put candles out when you leave the room and ensure they are completely out when going to bed.
Keep chimneys and flues clean and well maintained.
Always unplug electrical heaters when you go out or before you go to bed.
Ensure you have working smoke alarms and test them weekly.
Keep a battery operated light or torch handy in the event of a power cut or failure.