I have touched on Carbon Monoxide (CO) protection when your boiler came on last Autumn, but it is now set to get chillier again so it’s time to look at all round fire and CO home safety as we start to use more winter appliances. As we start to use these more regularly, the associated fire and CO risk within your home also increases.
Did you know? On average, in England there are 7,700 chimneys fires a year.*
As the freezing weather kicks in, a lot of us may be ramping up our warming methods and winter comforts in an attempt to ward off the cold. Many of us will take the chill off with a gas fire as this is an easy and fairly instant heat source, however, make sure this is protected by a CO alarm in case of any issues. Alternatively, if you are lighting up the log burner or an open fire instead, it is recommended that you get your chimney swept yearly to avoid the risk of a chimney fire. Making sure fires are covered by adequate fire alarms is key. Alarm type depends on what type of fire you have, for guidance on what alarm to fit, contact our Technical Team.
Did you know? Two fires a day are caused by heaters and 65 fires a year are caused by faulty electric blankets.*
Other ways to stay warm such as plug in oil radiators and fan heaters can also be a fire hazard to be aware of this winter. Always ensure that these items are in good condition, especially their cables, and that nothing flammable is left too close these heat sources. Another popular heating item in the
winter months is an electric blanket. Although this may be a great way to warm up a chair or your bed on a cold night, it can also be a potential fire risk. Not only does this carry the normal fire risks of an electrical item but it is also constantly sat on fabric which can be highly flammable should there be any issues with the product.
Careful with candles
Not only do people tend to use more heaters throughout the winter, but they also seek comforts. This time of year, a lot of people seek a cosy feel in their homes and one way of achieving this is the use of a warm scented candle. Although these may smell lovely and give a feel of comfort, only use these when you are in the room with them and keep any flammable items away from the flame. To avoid using them during power cuts, keep a battery-operated torch handy.
My personal favourite winter comfort is a warm, hearty meal. There’s nothing quite like coming in on a cold winter’s night to a warming stew or a comforting chilli, even more so when they have been cooking away all day in slow cooker to make them extra tasty. Of course, this is what slow cookers were designed for, but always check that nothing is too close to the slow cooker as it may get very hot and it is a good idea to check that the cable is still in good condition. As with your normal cooker, a heat alarm is recommended in the kitchen to pick up high and rapidly rising heat that is associated with a cooking fire, or a heat and CO alarm where there is also a CO risk. Kitchen protection is of great importance as cookers in the kitchen are responsible for 50% of accidental fires in dwellings.**
So what should I do?
When using these items it is useful to make sure that you have adequate fire and CO detection fitted in the areas that winter warmer products are used. If you need any help with where to site your alarms or choosing your products, why not use our handy Alarm Selector tool or contact our Technical Team.
*Communities and Local Government, March 2015
**Fire Statistics: England April 2015 to March 2016.