As the nights draw in and the temperatures cool, most of us start getting reading for increased energy bills and more evenings and weekends spent indoors. As we crank up the heating and begin to use alternative methods to stay warm, there is unfortunately an increased fire risk. Follow our advice on what checks to make this cold season to lower the risk of fire.
If you’ve got a working fireplace in your home and are planning to use it this winter, then you should make sure that it is safe to use. Before using, make sure that your fire place and chimney are clear of blockages. Blockages, or faults with your chimney can cause fire, or problems from excessive smoke in your home. Find a local chimney sweep by doing a Google search or using a site like Yell who can clear your flue and check that your fire is safe to use.
When using a log fire, make sure that a fireguard is used to stop embers and sparks from flying into the room, and prevent children and animals from having access to the flames. Make sure that the fire is properly extinguished if leaving your home or going to bed, and only use appropriate fuels.
Never sit too close to a fire, regardless of how it is fuelled, as this can cause overheating and dehydration and even cause clothing to catch alight.
Continue to Test Fire Alarms
Check all fire alarms in your home on a weekly basis by pressing the test button on the device. If the alarm fails to work properly, then replace immediately. You can buy quality fire alarms from high street shops, including Argos, which are ideal for use within the home.
If using a fireplace, or gas heaters, be sure to have carbon monoxide alarms installed in the rooms. As carbon monoxide is a deadly gas that has no scent, taste, or colour, it is almost impossible for a person to detect.
Symptoms from exposure to Carbon Monoxide include dizziness, nausea, and headaches, which can lead to the false belief that an individual is suffering from winter flu or bugs. A Carbon Monoxide detector can quickly let you know if there is a leak in your home, allowing you to avoid serious health issues, and to quickly get faults repaired.
An electric blanket is a great way to save money and stay warm in the winter. Those who are planning on using one this year, should remember the following advice:
• Replace the blanket after ten years of use
• Never use an electric blanket with a hot water bottle, or on a waterbed
• Make sure that the blanket is turned off when not in use.
These are just a few pieces of advice in regards to electric blanket use, refer to your product packaging or read this.
Electric Heaters and Fan
Using an electric heater is another way to stay warm and save money, but can be a fire hazard if used incorrectly. Plug-in heaters that are left on too long, or ones that are placed in unsuitable areas, such as too close to sofas, are at risk of causing an outbreak of fire.
Make sure that your electric heaters are positioned clear of furniture and curtains, and never place washing or other items directly onto the heater.
If lighting candles in your home this winter, be sure to do so safely. Only use specifically designed candle holders, and only light them in a clear area. Extinguish the flame before leaving the room. Consider using flameless candles, like these, instead.
While this advice may be suited for your home, much of it is appropriate for your office or workplace. Fire safety is just as important at work as it as home. If you’re in charge of fire safety within the workplace, or would like to receive training in all aspects, take a look at our training courses that are focused towards those with fire warden or fire marshal responsibilities within their place of work. Alternatively, give us a call on 0117 957 3039 to see what bespoke courses we can provide.