Welsh Fire and Rescue Services urge residents to ‘Stay Fire Safe’ this winterPosted
All Fire and Rescue Services in Wales and Public Health Wales are urging people to take simple steps to protect themselves from accidental fires and carbon monoxide poisoning as they look to keep warm and cut energy use this winter. The call comes following concerns from the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) that the cost of living rise will mean people may turn to alternative ways of heating and lighting their homes.
All Welsh Fire and Rescue Services are supporting NFCC’s Stay Fire Safe campaign to provide advice to help reduce fire risks in the home. The campaign includes encouraging people to contact their local Fire and Rescue Service to request a Safe and Well / Home Safety Check for themselves or their loved ones. These checks are prioritised for those most at risk of a fire in the home and can involve home safety practitioners getting in contact to run through a list of questions, followed by a visit which may involve the installation of free alarms.
Chair of the All Wales Fire and Rescue Community Risk Reduction Group, Iwan Cray said: “It is crucial people ensure they have working smoke alarms – at least one on each level of the home. Time and time again we see how a smoke alarm can be the difference between life and death when a fire occurs.
Should you use a heating appliance that does not run off electricity, we recommend installing a carbon monoxide alarm. Carbon monoxide is a colourless and odourless gas that cannot be detected by sight or smell, but early detection of this fatal gas through a working CO alarm is lifesaving. All alarms should be regularly checked to see that they are working, by pushing the test button at least once a month.
It is important that where people are able to heat one room only, and are using that for both living and sleeping, that they can clearly hear alarms, so they can be alerted to a fire or dangerous levels of carbon monoxide when sleeping.”
Sarah Jones, Consultant in Environmental Health Protection, Public Health Wales, said:
“Cold weather can pose serious public health risks, including hypothermia, falls, injuries and carbon monoxide poisoning due to poorly maintained or poorly ventilated boilers, cooking and heating appliances.
One of the important ways you and your family can prepare for the winter is by getting your heating and cooking appliances serviced. Make sure that flues and chimneys are swept, and boilers are properly serviced. If you are using heating oil, LPG or wood products try to stock up ahead of winter if you can afford to. Additionally, ensure that you have a working and audible carbon monoxide alarm (EN 50291-compliant).”
Iwan Cray added: “Changes to regulations mean that landlords must fit smoke alarms in all homes and carbon monoxide alarms where there is heating fuelled by gas, wood, oil or coal in rented accommodation, from 1st December in Wales. We advise tenants to ensure their landlord is complying to help keep them safe.”
The campaign will also share fire safety advice on heating, candles and electricals. Iwan Cray concluded: “It is essential that to cope safely with the rise in the cost of living we don’t put ourselves or our loved ones at risk. Your local Fire and Rescue Service can provide advice on reducing the risk of a devastating accidental fire and will be working to support our communities and help keep people safe. Safe and Well / Home Safety Checks can be requested by calling 0800 169 1234”
Tips to help keep residents fire 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.
- Ensure flammable items such as furniture and drying clothes are placed well away from heaters and fires.
- Ensure you use the correct fuel for woodburning stoves and open fires –to reduce the risk of toxic fumes, chimney fires and carbon monoxide poisoning.
- If you have an open fire, please ensure that you use a guard around it, to help prevent any material igniting a fire in your home and to keep children and pets away from it.
- Avoid buying fake and counterfeit electrical goods, which may cause electrical fires.
- If your smoke alarm does not appear to be working and you have checked the batteries, please arrange for it to be replaced or repaired.
- 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 carbon monoxide 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.
To request a Safe and Well / Home Safety Check:
Call 0800 169 1234 or visit
- Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service https://ols.mawwfire.gov.uk/onlineservices/referral?model=RHREQ
- North Wales Fire and Rescue Service https://www.northwalesfire.gov.wales/keeping-you-safe/at-home/free-smoke-alarm/
- South Wales Fire and Rescue Service https://www.southwales-fire.gov.uk/your-safety-wellbeing/at-home/request-a-visit/