Fire Chief urges people to heat homes safely

Rob Barber

Fire Chief urges people to heat homes safely

The warning comes as this week average energy bills nearly double in comparison to the same time last year.

Staffordshire’s Chief Fire Officer, Rob Barber, said: “We are expecting accidental house fires will increase this year as people make changes to their behaviour and the way they heat their homes.

"We have a number of concerns which range from people huddling too close to open fires, electrical heaters being used to dry clothes, individuals throwing anything that will burn into wood burners and even camping stoves being used indoors.

“Unfortunately more fires increases the likelihood of more injuries and sadly the potential for more deaths.

"We appreciate people need to make changes to how they use energy in order to reduce costs but we’d urge people not to do that at the expense of your own life and that of others. You can reduce your energy bill without having to resort to unsafe practices.”

In the months ahead the Service will be partnering up with other organisations to support initiatives which support low income households and provide equipment to help people keep warmer in their homes. Heating your home safely will also be a focus of the Safe and Well visits that fire staff carry out in the homes of vulnerable people on a daily basis.

Rob Barber added: “The easiest and most effective thing you can do to reduce your risk is to check you have working smoke alarms on each floor of your property, to increase your protection further ensure you have a carbon monoxide detector fitted.

"If you have an open fire get the chimney swept ahead of needing to use it this winter and use seasoned logs with the 'Safe to Burn' logo that won’t spit.

"Open fires also need guards and avoid huddling too close to them, sadly we have had a number of fire deaths caused by open fires. The same goes for portable heaters, don’t get too close to them and ensure they are  a safe distance away from other materials.”

More information on how to keep warm safely is available in the home page of Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service’s website. Information is also available as to whether you or someone you know can qualify for a free Safe and Well Visit.

Alternatively you can call freephone 0800 0241 999.