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Cooking fire

Electrical Fire Safety

People are playing with fire in their efforts to find cheaper heating options this winter, research by Electrical Safety First has revealed, with many unaware of the dangers that the alternatives can pose.

With concerns about rising energy prices forcing people to use portable heaters in order to warm their homes, the Charity is joining forces with The Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service to warn of the risks associated with these items as part of Electrical Fire Safety Week, which runs from 10 – 16 November.

Electrical Safety First’s research found that 78% of people were worried about the rising costs of energy bills, and over half would use portable heaters as an alternative to keep warm this winter.

However, it was also revealed that many could put themselves and their loved ones at risk by using the heaters incorrectly. 38% of people admitted that they would leave a heater switched on and unattended, whilst 21% would leave one switched on overnight. And with portable heaters having caused 73 deaths, around 1000 injuries and over 3,800 fires since 2009/10,[1] the dangers posed by using them incorrectly are very real.

The elderly are particularly vulnerable. Those aged 80 and over make up nearly 40% of the fatalities caused by portable-heater fires last year,[2] even though 33% of people would use a portable heater to keep an older relative warm. 

In order to minimise the danger, Electrical Safety First and The Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service have produced the following guidance for heating your home safely: 

  • Never leave portable heaters unattended
  • Never leave them on whilst sleeping
  • Ensure that they are positioned well away from anything which could knock them over
  • Ensure they are at least a metre away from any combustible materials, such as paper or curtains
  • Never buy second hand halogen heaters
  • Never power a halogen heater from an extension lead – these can easily be overloaded and cause fires
  • Regularly inspect your heater for damage. If it’s damaged – don’t use it

On this guidance, and on the dangers posed by portable heaters, Emma Apter at Electrical Safety First said:

“Having a warm home this winter is something everyone deserves, so we welcome portable heaters as a low cost option at a time when energy costs are spiralling. However, it is vital that the dangers associated with these items are understood – particularly as our research suggests that people are putting themselves and their loved ones at risk by using them in an unsafe way. “By following our short, simple guidance, people can stay safe and stay warm this winter”.

Julian Fountaine from The Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service added: “With winter approaching, people will be considering the costs of heating their homes and many will be seeking cheaper alternatives. Yet the cost counting may not stop there if portable heaters are used incorrectly. Instead of saving money, you could be looking at fire, injury and even death. It is therefore vital that people take our messages on board and follow the advice provided”.

TICK. TOCK. TEST your smoke alarm.  Before it's too late.

Smoke, the silent killer, is responsible for over half of all deaths in accidental fires in the home.

Last year over half the 213 fire deaths in the home were caused by smoke inhalation. Working smoke alarms can give people the wake-up call they need to escape – because smoke will not, it will leave you for dead.

Shockingly, in  the majority of domestic fires with fatalities, smoke alarms were either absent or did not go off – and a common cause was missing or flat batteries. That is why the Fire Kills campaign, run in partnership with the Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service, is asking people to make an online pledge to test their smoke alarms this clock change weekend (25-26 October). A simple push of the test button and you will test both the power supply and the detection mechanism.

In March 2014, nearly one in seven people tested their smoke alarms when they changed their clocks to British Summer Time. This autumn, the Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service is determined that even more people will keep their loved ones safer from fire by testing their smoke alarms. Everyone can join in and pledge to Tick Tock Test.

Pledgers will be able to sign up on the Fire Kills Facebook page or click on special Fire Kills ‘Tick Tock Test’ adverts when they see them online and on their mobile phones. 

Over half the people who died in fires in the home last year were 65 years old or over. So as well as testing their own alarms, Fire Kills is urging householders to test for people who might need help testing theirs. The few seconds it takes to test could provide a few valuable minutes for loved ones to escape safely. 

Fire Minister Penny Mordaunt said;    

“The simple act of pressing a button and testing the smoke alarms in your home could be the difference between life and death. On clock change weekend, when you turn back the clocks in your home I urge everyone to Tick Tock Test their smoke alarms too. It takes very little extra time and could well be a life saver.

“At the last clock change nearly 1 in 7 people reached for the test button and I hope that this October many more do the same, not just in their own homes but in the homes of those they know and love who might find it difficult to test for themselves.

“I want to see thousands of responsible householders pledging to test – and then doing it over the weekend of 25-26 October. Let’s save more lives”. Julian Fountaine, Community Risk Manager said:  

“Smoke alarms are a well-proven life saving tool, but they are no use if they are not working. You are at least four times more likely to die in a fire if you don’t have a working smoke alarm, so taking the time to test the smoke alarms in your home could be a truly life saving decision.”

“The clock change weekend can act as a great reminder to test your smoke alarms – so over the weekend of 25-26 October why not test yours when you change the clocks.”

The new Fire Kills campaign focuses on the deadly effects of smoke –engulfing innocent victims as they sleep. Many people believe smoke will wake them up if fire breaks out – but it won’t, it will leave them for dead. A working smoke alarm is the most effective way to alert you to the danger. The campaign features radio adverts voiced by actor Robbie Gee describing how smoke creeps around and engulfs you. The press and online adverts feature people asleep at home being overcome by smoke.

Gas Safety

The Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service pledges its support for Gas Safety Week

As part of the Fire Kills campaign, The Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service has pledged its support for Gas Safety Week (15-21 September), and will be helping to raise awareness of gas safety issues.

This fourth annual Gas Safety Week will see the whole industry coming together to bring gas safety to the forefront of people’s minds. Dangerous gas work can kill, so it is vital that gas appliances are safety checked at least once a year. If left unchecked, poorly serviced gas appliances can cause gas leaks, fires, explosions and carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. In the last year alone, 343 people were injured and 10 people died as a result of gas related incidents.

People can sign up to a free reminder service at www.StayGasSafe.co.uk (website), and use the interactive gas map to see how many unsafe gas appliances are lurking in an area.

Russell Krämer, chief executive for Gas Safe Register, said: “Every year, far too many people suffer from preventable gas related accidents, such as gas leaks, explosions, fires and carbon monoxide poisoning. It’s great therefore, that the Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service, as part of the Fire Kills campaign, has pledged its support and is raising awareness of gas safety issues, helping to let the 23 million gas consumers in the UK know about the simple checks they can make to stay safe.”

Follow these simple checks to stay gas safe.

  • Always use a Gas Safe registered engineer when having gas work carried out in your home. You can find a registered engineer in your area by calling Gas Safe Register on 0800 408 5500 or visit www.GasSafeRegister.co.uk (website)
  • Get your gas appliances safety checked at least once a year and serviced in line with the manufacturer’s instructions. This includes your gas boiler, gas cooker and gas fire. Sign up at www.staygassafe.co.uk (website) for a free reminder service.
  • Check the front and back of your engineer’s Gas Safe Register ID card, making sure they are qualified to do the specific type of gas work you require.
  • Install an audible carbon monoxide alarm which will alert you if dangerous levels are present in your home.
  • Check for warning signs your appliances aren’t working correctly, such as lazy yellow or orange flames instead of crisp blue ones, black marks on or around the appliance and too much condensation in the room.

For more information or to find Gas Safe registered engineer visit www.GasSafeRegister.co.uk (website) or call 0800 408 5500.

Chimney Fire Safety

Making a Clean Sweep of Safety

With summer drawing to a close, Chimney Fire Safety Week provides a timely reminder to make sure that your chimney is ready for the winter months ahead.  As part of the national Fire Kills campaign, the Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service are urging householders to ensure their chimney is safe and to have their chimney swept by a registered chimney sweep.

Open fires not only warm up a home, but also create a unique relaxing ambience.  With the numbers of people using open fires growing, the Fire Kills campaign has provided some top tips for safer chimneys.

Always use a fire guard to protect against flying sparks from hot embers:

  • Make sure embers are properly put out before you go to bed

  • Keep chimneys and flues clean and well maintained

Julian Fountaine, Prevention Manager explains:  “With the colder, winter months looming, people will begin to start using open fires and their chimneys again.  In order to keep you and your family safe from fire, you need to take necessary steps such as ensuring your chimney is swept regularly, depending upon what fuel you burn and I would urge all householders to have a working smoke alarm in their home.” 

Smokeless coals

At least once a year

Wood

Up to four times a year

Bituminous coal

Twice a year

Oil

Once a year

Gas

Once a year

Julian Fountaine adds: Latest statistics show that there are approximately 7,000 chimney fires a year in England, but most chimney fires are preventable. “All chimneys and flue-ways should be cleaned and checked during the summer months to ensure they’re free from debris and in full working order before the heating season. A blocked or defective chimney can cause both chimney fires and carbon monoxide poisonings so it’s very important to employ a professional qualified Chimney Sweep.”

To find a certified Chimney Sweep, or for more information on chimney fire safety, please visit:

  • The National Association of Chimney Sweeps website, please click here
  • The Institute of Chimney Sweeps website, please click here

On the first of every month, test your smoke alarms

Last year over 200 people died in fires in the home. You are more likely to die in a fire in the home if there is no working smoke alarm.  So on the 1st of every month, test your smoke alarms and tick it off your 'to do' list.  It takes no time at all and gives you and your family a better chance of surviving a fire.

First of the month - Time to Test.

Social Media

For more information on fire safety, please visit the following social media sites:

www.facebook.com/firekills

firekills.tumblr.com/

audioboo.fm/FireKills

Or follow Fire Kills on twitter.com/fire_kills 

    #CookSafe

    #BBQSafety

    #CarefulCooking

Watch the 'Don't drink and fry' campaign on Youtube, please click here

Watch the 'Hot Date' campaign on Youtube, please click here