“Cutting corners could cost a life”
We are all trying to tighten our belts and find different ways of saving money during these particularly difficult times.
The Cost of Living Crisis has meant that everyone is prioritising and scrutinising where and how their personal finances are being spent. This is to try and ensure that every precious penny is accounted for and enables people’s money to go a lot further.
One of the key focal areas seems to be energy and the underlining factors associated with it.
People who are considering cutting corners to try and save money could see a short-term financial shift but the long term damage could prove fatal.
We don’t want residents to be increasing their property’s risk of fire, and to put your home and family in danger.
Here are some useful safety pointers.
Electric blankets can pose a serious risk if used incorrectly – people should ensure:
- Blankets over 10-years old should be disposed of, as the majority of older blankets are the cause of most electric blanket fires. If you are unsure, don’t use them.
- Blankets under 10-years old should be regularly checked for frayed wires, breaks in the elements and for general wear or damage.
- Please ensure you buy your electric blanket from a reputable supplier and avoid buying second hand blankets at all costs.
- Check that the blanket you’ve purchased has a thermostat, overheat protection and a British standard kite mark.
Portable electric heaters can also cause fire safety issues in the home.
- Electrical heaters must be plugged directly into the wall.
- All heaters must be kept at a safe distance from combustible items, such as, furniture and people.
- Never use them to dry clothes.
- Heaters must be on a stable footing to ensure they don’t fall over.
- Please ensure any electric heater is in good condition before you use it.
- Don’t buy second-hand heaters.
Candles should never be bought in bulk to become the sole source of heating and lighting a property as this could cause a major fire risk.
- Always ensure that candles and tea lights are housed in the correct holders, and never leave them unattended especially in multiple rooms.
- Ensure your candles are placed on solid, heat resistant surfaces, never place them directly on plastic objects, such as, around bath edges or on UPVC window sills.
- The use of candles directly underneath any household objects or fixtures is particularly dangerous e.g. under shelves or televisions; please ensure that you keep the space above the candle clear.
- Be extra careful when carrying lit candles around the home.
- Loose clothing presents another risk where people could be unaware of their proximity to the candle.
Open fires and wood-burning stoves always look beautiful and provide that rustic atmosphere but please be aware of their potential dangers.
- Chimneys must be swept yearly, to prevent build-up of soot and other materials which could cause a blockage, and therefore a fire.
- Get wood-burning stoves checked regularly to ensure they are safe to use.
- Don’t store fuel (logs and coal) directly next to the fire.
- Ensure you have a suitable fireguard.
People are also using alternative fuel sources such as coal, Calor Gas and Bio-ethanol to heat their properties. We would always urge people to investigate these approaches first to see if they are suitable for the property, and to ensure that essential safety outlets are in place first, like working smoke alarms and heat detectors, and that appropriate ventilation is available.
We have even seen during recent residential visits that some home owners are using their kitchen gas hobs to heat the surrounding areas. This may seem like a good idea but it is extremely dangerous.
Always remember at the end of the day, before you go off to bed, to do a little safety check of your home just to make sure when you are enjoying some well-deserved Zzzzz that you and your family are safe.
Also don’t forget you can book a Safe and Well visit with one of our Prevention and Education team who can come and assess any fire risks in your home, and even fit free smoke alarms. You can use the online form or by calling 0800 0327777.
Please take a moment to check out the following links to useful online resources that provide general advice about the Cost of Living Crisis, and where you can find support if you are experiencing any financial difficulties.
National Fire Chiefs Council (steps to stay fire safe)