Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service is urging people to check on their elderly relatives and neighbours this weekend, with temperatures set to remain low and the possibility of snow.
"Obviously we want people to keep as warm as possible; however electric blankets, portable heaters and open fires do present additional fire risks, so it’s important they are used correctly."
Head of Risk Reduction for Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service, Glynn Luznyj
The Met Office has raised the national alert level from a level two to a level three which indicates a prolonged period of cold weather with the potential to be dangerous - especially for the very young, very old or those with chronic diseases.
With statistics revealing more accidental house fires take place during winter than at any other time of the year the Service wants to ensure the safety of Staffordshire residents, particular the elderly who are more vulnerable to fire. In 2010 six people, four of them elderly, died following fires in their homes which involved heating devices.
Head of Risk Reduction for Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service, Glynn Luznyj, said: "With temperatures set to remain below freezing this weekend we’d urge those with elderly relatives, friends or neighbours to check that they are warming their home safely and to check they have everything they need. Obviously we want people to keep as warm as possible; however electric blankets, portable heaters and open fires do present additional fire risks, so it’s important they are used correctly.
"If you are elderly, or know of someone elderly who hasn’t received a free Home Fire Risk Check we’d urge you to get in touch on our freephone number 0800 0241 99, so we can arrange a visit. A home fire risk check reduces the risk of a fire occurring and gives you that extra piece of mind."
Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service has launched an older persons campaign to raise awareness of fire safety amongst older people and those who care for them. Posters and leaflets have been delivered to Staffordshire doctor’s surgeries, hospitals, libraries, housing associations, post offices, children’s centres and voluntary organisations.
A Home Fire Risk Check involves a member of Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service visiting your home to give fire safety advice and fitting equipment such as smoke alarms to ensure you are safer in your home. The freephone number to ring to request a check is 0800 0241 999 and on ringing you will be able to arrange a mutually convenient time for the visit to take place. All staff 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 the back of the heater is against the wall and is facing the room.
Keep portable heaters clear from curtains and furniture and never use them 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.
Sweep the chimney before use if you haven’t used it for some time.
Always keep a fire guard in front of an open fire.
Push the button on your smoke alarms on a weekly basis to ensure they work