The winter months bring with them an increased risk of fires, more so than any other time of the year. This is due to a number of factors:
- Increased use of electrical equipment such as festive decorations, mobile heaters and heated blankets
- Fireplaces and candles create more open flames in the home
- People take part in high-risk outdoor activities such as firework displays – consider firework safety
The good news is that there are practical things you can do to protect you and your loved ones from a fire starting.
So what can you do to protect your home?
- Install smoke alarms
Smoke alarms save lives. Having a properly functioning smoke alarm has been linked to a drop in fatalities from domestic fires. As a minimum, smoke detectors should be installed on every level of the property, especially near the sleeping areas.
- Get a fire extinguisher
Whilst smoke alarms will alert to the fact that a fire has started, having one or more fire extinguisher(s) within the property will help you put out a small fire and potentially avoid it spreading to other parts of the house.
- Closing your internal doors
You may wish to close your internal doors prior to going to bed. When closed they create a barrier to stop the spread of fire and when opened they provide a means of escape.
- Maintain your chimney and gutters
Chimney fires can be prevented by keeping chimneys and flues clean and regularly maintained. Remember to always use a fire guard in front of a fire place to protect against flying sparks from hot embers. Gutters filled with dry leaves can accelerate a fire so these should be kept clean.
- Follow best practice on electrical equipment and heaters, especially Christmas lights
Make sure that your equipment is working properly, and that it is safe to use. Also make sure that you know how to use it properly. Keep portable heaters away from curtains and furniture and never use them for drying clothes. Unplug any electrical equipment when not in use.
- Christmas Celebrations
Remember to keep safe in the kitchen when cooking during the festive period. Never leave hot pans unattended and always switch off if you are leaving the kitchen.
For further reading, you might be interested to read this government download guide for Fire Safety in the Home.
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