Stay warm and safe say West Sussex firefighters

AS the freezing temperatures continue across the county, firefighters are urging everyone to stay warm and safe.

Jackie Boyle, West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service’s community risk reduction officer, said: “With the onset of the extreme cold, many of us are spending more time indoors keeping as warm as possible. Understandably, some people may be turning to extra heat sources like electric blankets and portable heaters to keep out the winter chill, but these bring with them an increased risk of fire in your home.

“We recommend people take a few simple precautions to ensure they stay safe as well as warm during this cold snap. Older residents can be particularly vulnerable in cold weather, so it’s especially important for friends, relatives and neighbours to keep an eye out for them.”

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Firefighters are also reminding people of the dangers that lurk on frozen lakes, ponds and streams.

West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service offers the advice to residents to reduce the risk of fire. This includes:

-Switch heaters off if you are not in the room and check they are off before you go to bed

-Keep heaters well away from anything that could catch light like curtains or furnishings and never use them for drying clothes

-Do not use portable heaters where they may be knocked over

-If you plan to use an open fire make sure you have your chimney professionally swept and cleaned

-If you are using an open fire always use a fire guard to protect against flying sparks from hot embers

-Make sure embers are properly put out before leaving the house or going to bed

Advice for electric blanket use:

-Never use hot water bottles in the same bed as an electric blanket

-Unplug blankets before you get into bed, unless they have a thermostat control for safe all-night use.

-Don’t leave electric blankets folded as this damages the internal wiring

-Have your blanket checked regularly by a qualified electrician and always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines regarding their use and maintenance

Finally, the fire service reminds people about the need for a working smoke alarm. You may be eligible for a free Home Fire Safety Check, call 0800 3286487 to find out more.

In the event of a fire, get out, stay out and call 999.

For some simple things you can do to keep warm and make the best use of your heating at home you can visit www.direct.gov.uk