Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service is reminding residents to heat their homes safely this winter. With the recent rise in energy prices, residents may turn to alternative methods of heating, such as electric heaters and blankets.
Both items can be effective ways of staying warm if used correctly.
If someone choses to use an electric heater to keep warm, first ensure that any heater purchased carries the mark of the British Electrotechnical Approvals Board which means it is has been properly tested. When you are using it, place the heater one metre away from any people or clothing in the room to reduce the risk of accidental clothing fires. Additionally, heaters must never be used to dry clothes because again, this is a fire risk and could lead to serious injury.
Fire crews have attended 14 electrical heater fires since the start of the decade.
Norfolk County Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Partnerships, Councillor Margaret Dewsbury, said: “We all need to stay warm in winter, I strongly encourage residents take care while keeping warm. By avoiding the use of faulty products and keeping a safe distance from any heaters, we can all beat the cold and help prevent a fire.”
“If anyone is struggling to heat their home, The Norfolk Assistance Scheme provides emergency financial help, essential household goods, and advice and support for all Norfolk residents in need and can be accessed at www.norfolk.gov.uk/nas.”
Electric blankets can help keep us warm in bed during the winter nights, but they too can carry a fire risk. Unplug your blanket before you get into bed unless it has a thermostat control for safe all-night use. If your blanket gets wet, don’t use it, and never switch it on to dry it. For similar reasons, we recommend that heated blankets are treated with care. Check regularly for wear and tear and replace at least every 10 years.
Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service’s Head of Prevention, Tony White said: “Although electric blankets can be a great, cost-effective way to keep warm and cosy, it’s important to use them with care. In recent years, our crews have attended several electric blanket fires across the county. Blankets should be treated with care to prevent damage to the internal wiring. If your blanket is showing signs of wear, such as fraying fabric, scorch marks, or if the wiring is showing then have it replaced. For these reasons, please do not buy second-hand electric blankets and always follow the manufactures instructions. Finally, please plug your blanket directly into a wall socket, and not into a multi-socket which may become overloaded.”
“If your heating devices do ever catch fire, call 999 immediately, ask for the fire service and state your location. Never tackle the blaze yourself, our crews are trained professionals who can fight fires safely, never put yourself in danger.”