Tips on keeping warm and safe this winter

PUBLISHED: 10:43 08 December 2008 | UPDATED: 11:49 17 June 2010

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service have issued a timely warning to Devon residents to stay warm but safe as the colder weather takes hold.

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service have issued a timely warning to Devon residents to stay warm but safe as the colder weather takes hold.

Home Safety Manager David Hodge said, "As it gets colder and darker it's inevitable that we all spend more time indoors staying as cosy as possible. You might take additional measures to keep warm such as heaters and candles but these may bring an increased risk of fire into the home. By following some simple rules you can ensure you stay safe and warm.

"Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service are here to help and offer advice. If you are in any doubt over any fire safety issues, please do get in touch. We all want to be warm in winter, but we must avoid tragedy."

Therefore Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service are offering the following advice to help you reduce your fire risk this winter:

Fires and Heaters

Open fires can provide a relaxing and atmospheric way to keep warm, whereas portable heaters can be handily moved around but it's important to use them safely:

Always use a fire guard to protect an open fire against flying sparks and hot embers and make sure embers are under control and properly put out before you go out or go to bed.

Keep portable heaters away from curtains and furniture and never use them for drying clothes. Always unplug electric heaters when you go out and go to bed.

Electric Blankets

Electric blankets can help you keep warm during the cold nights, but fires can be devastating with 440 injuries resulting from every 1000 fires started by an electric blanket. Therefore, there are fire safety issues to consider:

Never use hot water bottles in the same bed as an electric blanket, even if the blanket is switched off.

Unplug blankets before you get into bed, unless they have a thermostat control for safe all-night use.

Don't leave electric blankets folded as this damages the internal wiring. Store them flat or rolled up instead.

Candles

Candles may also be used more to lighten up the dark evenings. As with open fires, a naked flame brings risks if they are not treated carefully.

Home Safety Manager David Hodge said: "You should make sure that candles are secured in a proper holder, and away from materials that may catch fire - like curtains. It is also very important that candles are put out completely when you leave the room or go to bed."

In addition, Mr Hodge said: "Remember to have smoke alarms fitted on every level of your property and test your smoke alarm every week. Working smoke alarms save lives".

If you are unsure about any of the advice given you can request a free Home Safety Visit where your local fire-fighters will visit your home to give safety advice. This can also result in smoke alarms being fitted for free.

For a Home Safety Visit please call 0800 73 11 822.

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