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Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service - Preventing, Protecting, Responding

Keep Safe From Harm This Winter

09/11/2009

As temperatures drop and the dark nights close in Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service is urging people to keep safe from harm in their homes.

Statistics reveal more accidental house fires take place during Winter than at any other time.

"Elderly people can be particularly vulnerable at this time of year due to the increase in use of portable electric heaters and open fires. Within the past year three elderly people in the county have died due to incidents involving open fires."

Simon Craythorn, Risk Reduction Manager, Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service

Desperate to avoid such incidents the Service is encouraging people to be extra careful and focussed with heaters, electric blankets and other potentially dangerous appliances.

Head of Central Risk Reduction for Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service, Ian Sloss, said: "More accidental fires happen in Winter than at any other time of the year. Portable heaters should never be left on unattended overnight while fireguards should cover an open fire at all times.

"And people must always remember to keep their candles away from curtains, material and furniture."

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service is also urging people – particularly the friends, family and neighbours of elderly people – to have them book a free home fire risk check.

A home fire risk check involves firefighters or a service technician visiting people in their home to give them fire safety advice, discuss escape routes and fit equipment such as smoke alarms and fire guards. 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.

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 the wall and they’re facing the room.

Keep portable heaters clear from curtains and furniture and never use them for drying clothes.

Put candles out when you leave the room and ensure they are completely out when going to bed. Always keep a fire guard in front of an open fire.