With snow forecast to continue over the weekend, Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service is reassuring people it’s business as usual but delays in responding might occur if snowfall is heavy.
The Service is urging people to call 999 in genuine emergencies only and to follow a few safety precautions at home to avoid the risk of a fire.
Area Commander Phil McFarlane said: “It’s business as usual whatever the weather but should we experience heavy snowfall, which is predicted for high ground such as the Staffordshire Moorlands, it could take us longer to respond if roads become impassable.
“We are asking people to take extra care when using portable heaters and open or gas fires to avoid the risk of a fire. We have had a number of incidents involving incorrectly installed log burners, heating appliances, open fires and the unsafe disposal of hot ash, as well as a spate of chimney fires.
“The rising cost of gas and electricity has seen more householders opting for open fires – and we are urging people to follow a few safety measures and avoid putting their property or themselves at risk.
“These include placing a spark or fire guard in front of an open fire to prevent sparks or embers falling on to the floor or carpet and putting hot ash into a metal container until properly cooled, which is about 24 hours. Hot ash should never be out into wheelie bins.
“We also recommend that fires and wood burners are properly installed by competent persons who are registered as fitters.
The Service is also encouraging people to check on older or vulnerable neighbours to make sure they are warm and safe and have food supplies to last through the snowy weather.
Tips on staying safe:
• 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 a wall and facing into 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.