Don't put cost of living above fire safety: HWFRS
Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service (HWFRS) is urging people not to risk lives while coping with spiralling bills.
Emma Roberts, the Service's Head of Prevention, said the counties' residents should not be tempted to cut corners on safety to bring down energy and other domestic charges during the current cost of living crisis. With people likely to stay at home for longer during the winter, everyone is asked to be extra careful to avoid fires happening in the first place.
Between January 1, 2013, and December 31, 2022, HWFRS dealt with 5,280 domestic fires in its area, including in dwellings and other residential properties - an average of 528 per year. Emma (pictured) said: "The rise in the cost of living is presenting a wide range of challenges for people this winter but we shouldn't put ourselves or our loved ones at risk. "So we want to encourage people to think about basic fire safety in the home and taking the right steps to ensure they are safe from fire. "Of particular importance is having working smoke alarms which save lives. "The majority of homes across the country now have an alarm fitted but do you know if they are working? "We want people to test the alarms on a weekly basis."
People are recommended to consider more than just the price when choosing a portable heater this winter or finding other ways to heat their home. The continuing rise in the cost of living may make small, inexpensive space heaters look a practical and efficient way to heat a room. There are numerous products available, which start at just over £10, but saving a few pounds on an unsuitable appliance could prove extremely costly. Free Home Fire Safety visits are available for the more vulnerable such as the elderly, people living alone and those with reduced mobility.
TOP TIPS TO STAY SAFE
HWFRS is urging people to take note of the following vital safety advice:
Smoke alarms save lives but only if they are working and are in the right place. You should have at least one working smoke alarm on every level of your home.
Ensure you test your smoke alarms work on a weekly basis.
Keep heaters well away from clothes, curtains, furniture and other flammable materials. NEVER use heaters to dry clothes. ALWAYS switch off and unplug your heaters before going to bed.
If you smoke, use a proper ashtray and make sure it is placed on a level surface away from combustible materials. Make sure your cigarettes are fully extinguished.
Don't smoke in bed - you could easily fall asleep while your cigarette is still burning and cause a fire.
Keep candles and tea lights away from anything that can catch fire. NEVER leave lit candles unattended - make sure they are fully extinguished before leaving the room or going to bed.
Make it a priority to keep cooking areas clear and clean from combustible materials.
Make sure your oven and grill are clean - a build-up of fat or grease can cause a fire.
DON'T leave pans unattended while cooking and NEVER leave children or pets unattended in the kitchen.
Make sure everyone in your household knows how to get out in the event of a fire. Ensure your escape routes are clear from any clutter. Keep your door and window keys in a known and accessible place. IN AN EMERGENCY, CALL 999 IMMEDIATELY.
In the event of a fire, Get out, Stay out and Call 999.
Emma added: "For further fire safety advice, please visit www.hwfire.org.uk/safety-and-advice/ and www.hwfire.org.uk. If you think you might qualify for a free Home Fire Safety visit, please call our Prevention team on 0800 032 1155.
"HWFRS Prevention Technicians and Fire Crews are delighted to visit local residents and carry out a FREE Home Fire Safety visit if they qualify to help keep them safe in their homes. "You can also complete a FREE online Home Fire Safety check by following the link on our website. This easy-to-follow check will take you through your home a room at a time - the simple questions will help you spot fire risks and make your home safer. "Don't forget that extra Government grants are available - you can find out more from GOV.UK at Help with your energy bills.
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