SNOW: Keep safe while keeping warm in Gloucestershire
WITH many people staying at home today due to the snow, Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service has issued advice for how to keep safe while keeping warm.
Heaters are a common cause of deaths in the home, often as a result of people sitting too close to them or placing them near flammable items.
Follow these steps to use heaters safely:
- Make sure all heaters are well clear of furnishings and on a flat surface.
- Try to sit at least one metre away from them.
- Use a fireguard permanently if you have young children.
- Do not dry laundry by the fire or on the fireguard.
- Never block or obstruct an air vent as proper ventilation is essential.
- Make sure the heater is regularly serviced.
Electric blankets are also frequently used by the elderly and this advice should be followed to use them safely:
- Blankets should always be turned off overnight.
- Blankets should be replaced every ten years and tested every two.
- Blankets should be checked for scorch marks, water damage, mould or exposed wires along the line of a fold.
- A hot water bottle should never be used in bed when an electric blanket is fitted to it.
Homes are also at greater risk of power cuts at this time of year and when this happens residents are advised to use torches or lanterns rather than candles or paraffin lamps as they can pose a serious fire risk.
Many house fires also start in the kitchen and can be prevented by following this advice:
- Keep ovens clean to prevent a build up of fat and grease.
- Take care when cooking with oil, especially in a chip pan.
- Avoiding leaving children unsupervised in the kitchen when the cooker is on.
- Keeping tea towels and cloths away from the cooker and avoid drinking alcohol while cooking.
Gloucestershire’s chief fire officer Jon Hall said it was important people took extra care in cold weather.
“We often get called to fires during cold spells caused by careless use of heaters so please follow our advice to ensure you stay warm and safe,” he said.
Gloucestershire County Council cabinet member for communities Cllr Will Windsor-Clive (Con, Newent) said safety advice can seem obvious but it is important people are careful.
“It looks like a winter wonderland out there and it’s great that lots of people will be having fun in the snow but for vulnerable people particularly, this weather means extra risks,” he said.