“Don’t make cuts to your fire safety this winter” is the stark warning from Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service.
The service is expecting an increase in accidental house fires as people potentially make changes to the way they heat their homes and use energy this winter. They are launching a campaign today “Be Warm. Be Safe” in an attempt to raise awareness and limit the impact the cost of living crisis could have on the number of fires.
The service is teaming up with partner organisations, opening some of its fire stations as warm spaces and distributing posters and leaflets to locations across the county to raise awareness of the campaign, highlighting the simple steps people can do to ensure they, and those they care for, are as safe as possible from fire in their homes.
Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Michelle Hickmott said: “We are dealing with the unknown this winter but our prediction is we may see a rise in accidental house fires, which increases the likelihood of more injuries and sadly the potential for more deaths. It is deeply concerning, which is why we are going to be doing everything we can to encourage people to think carefully about their fire safety, and launching our campaign “Be warm. Be safe.”
“Generally, the causes of accidental fires haven’t changed over the years but this year could be different. As people look to more innovative and different ways to use energy and heat their homes we are expecting to see new trends emerge. We are already hearing stories of people opening up fire places and attempting to fit their own log burners, which if not using a professional, may mean that toxic gases are being released. Another issue we’re hearing of is people bringing camping stoves and heating equipment designed for outdoors, into the home, this poses a huge carbon monoxide risk as well as being a fire hazard. Variable use tariffs encouraging people to use electricity outside of peak hours could see people using washers and dryers overnight, which isn’t advisable as there is less time to respond to a fire if you are asleep when one occurs.
“The people most vulnerable from fire have traditionally in the past been elderly people, particularly those that live alone. This risk will remain but we expect it to broaden to other groups in society including low income households and students. We’d encourage people to follow our social channels for top tips, visit our website and do the one simple action that may save your life and check your smoke alarms work.”
More information on the campaign “Be. Warm. Be Safe” is available on the home page of Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service’s website www.staffordshirefire.gov.uk. Information is also available as to whether you or someone you know can qualify for a free Safe and Well Visit. The visit involves a firefighter or technician visiting your home to identify fire safety hazards and provide equipment or advice to reduce the likelihood of a fire occurring. Alternatively, you can call freephone 0800 0241 999 to see if you are eligible for a visit.