By January 2023, more than half of UK households could be in fuel poverty - this is likely to lead to increased fire risk at home. (University of York’s Social Policy Research Unit)
As costs rise over the winter, fire and rescue services are expecting to see an increase in behaviours which could lead to additional accidental dwelling fires, associated fire injuries and fire fatalities.
The call to stay safe comes following concerns from the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) that the cost of living rise will mean people turn to alternative ways of heating and lighting their homes.
Humberside Fire and Rescue Service (HFRS) is supporting NFCC’s Stay Fire Safe campaign to provide advice to help reduce the fire risks in the home. As part of the campaign, HFRS is encouraging people to complete an online home fire safety check for themselves or their loved ones.
By answering a few simple questions, it will provide fire safety advice specific to you and tips on how to keep you and your household safe from fire www.ohfsc.co.uk
For those most at risk of fire we can visit the home to provide help and advice. It’s crucial people ensure they have working smoke alarms – at least one on each level of the home.
Where you have a heating appliance that doesn’t run off electricity, we recommend installing a carbon monoxide alarm - it’s the only way to detect this harmful, colourless, odourless gas which can be fatal.
Check alarms are working by pushing the test button at least once a month. It’s important that where people are able to only heat one room and are using that for both living and sleeping they can clearly hear alarms so they can be alerted to a fire or dangerous levels of carbon monoxide when asleep.
Changes to regulations now mean landlords in England must fit smoke alarms in all homes and carbon monoxide alarms where there is fixed combustion heating appliance in rented accommodation.
We advise tenants to ensure their landlord is complying to help keep them safe. The campaign will also share advice on heating and appliance safety, candles and electrical safety.
HFRS Head of Prevention Sarah Wilkinson said:
“It is really important that as we all cope safely with the rise in the cost of living, we don’t put ourselves or our loved ones at risk. Our staff can provide advice on reducing the risk of a devastating accidental fire and will be working to support our community and help keep them safe.”
To help keep you safe
- Check any heating appliances are in good working order and not subject to a product recall by checking the Office for Product Safety and Standards website for any alerts or recalls. Visit the government website or Electrical Safety First
- Don't overload sockets or 'stack' multiplugs
- Use candles responsibly, in suitable holders on a level surface away from fabrics and curtains
- Ensure flammable items such as furniture and drying clothes are placed well away from heaters and fires
- Ensure you use the correct fuel for wood burning stoves and open fires – to reduce the risk of toxic fumes, chimney fires and carbon monoxide poisoning
- Check your escape routes, make sure they are clear from clutter and items such as portable heaters are not blocking them.
- If possible, don’t skip servicing of boilers and gas appliances by a Gas Safe engineer to prevent gas leaks and CO poisoning.
- Landlords must arrange for an annual gas safety check in rented accommodation. If you’re a homeowner check your energy provider’s website for information about their Priority Services Register – if you’re eligible they often offer a free annual gas safety check along with other support.