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''Put the freeze on winter fires'' urge firefighters

''Put the freeze on winter fires'' urge firefighters

4 February 2016

Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) is reminding people to heat their homes safely following a fire in a caravan in Canal Road, Strood last night.

Two fire engines were sent to the property at 2.45am arriving within minutes of receiving the 999 call from the resident, who had woken to the smell of smoke. He discovered radiated heat from a metal keg that he was using to burn coal and wood for heating had set light to a surrounding cupboard.

Crews used a hose reel to put the fire out and a thermal imaging camera to check for fire spread.

Strood Crew Manager, Ian Collins, said: “This man had a really lucky escape in waking when he did. People often don’t realise how quickly a fire can spread and that the heat and smoke can be more dangerous than flames. Fire produces poisonous gases that make you disorientated and drowsy and may make you fall into a deeper sleep.

“Working smoke alarms can make the difference between life and death but thankfully, in this case, the resident wasn’t hurt and we were able to save most of the caravan.”

Between January and December 2015 KFRS attended 189 chimney fires and 36 fires in people’s homes caused by heating equipment*.

Ian ended: “Open fires and portable heaters bring extra warmth during the colder months but can also bring extra risk as seen by this incident. The best way to fight fire is to reduce the risk of it happening in the first place. Following simple precautions will keep you warm and safe.”

  • Make sure heaters work properly

  • Portable heaters should be dust-free and kept well away from anything that could catch fire
  • Heaters with a safety cut-off features are a good idea
  • When operating heaters, ensure there is enough ventilation for any gases, such as carbon monoxide to escape from
  • Don’t dry clothes on or right next to a heater

Notes to editors:

*Heating equipment categories include:

  • Heater/Fire

  • Patio Equipment

  • Central Heating/hot water

  • Other heating equipment

  • Separate water heating

  • Food warming equipment (not cooking)

  • Power Source

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