With parts of the county waking up to snow and the possibility of further sleet and snow showers forecast, Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) is appealing to residents to help keep themselves safe at home and on the roads.
Since 2 February, KFRS has been called out to eight chimney fires:
10 February – Badlesmere in Faversham and Maydowns Road, Chestfield
9 February – Meesons Close, Eastling and North Elham in Canterbury
8 February – Hastingleigh in Ashford, Sturry Road and Guilton in Ash, nearCanterbury
2 February – Common View, Tunbridge Wells
KFRS Area Manager, Keith Pascoe, said: “While it can be comforting to curl up in front of a warm, crackling fire during cold weather, it’s vital you make sure your fire or log burning stove is in good working order before you light it or you could be putting your family and home at risk.
Residents and businesses can sign up to the free KFRS clean sweep email alert to receive a reminder to get chimneys swept and properly maintained by a certified chimney sweep.
It’s also important to take extra care on the roads especially with further sleet and snow showers predicted, which could lead to temporary slushy accumulations in places.
Keith added: “Every year our fire crews attend hundreds of crashes on the county’s roads, rescuing drivers and their passengers, providing emergency first aid and trauma care. Each crash causes pain and heartache not just for the person hurt or killed but to passengers, families, friends and the emergency services who are called to assist them.
“Good visibility is vital for safe driving, so make sure you can see and be seen and that your vehicle is completely cleared before moving off. Increase the distance between yourself and the vehicle in front, allow extra time for your journey and adjust your driving to suit the road conditions.”
Sadly, it is often older members of the community, or those with dementia or other health/lifestyle issues, who are at greater risk of being injured or killed in a fire at home. Please take the time to check on your elderly, neighbours, relatives or friends, especially during colder weather. Make sure they are warm, safe and that their smoke alarms work. If you have any concerns give KFRS’ home safety team a call on 0800 923 7000 (free of charge from UK landlines) or email email@example.com.