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Like all fire and rescue services, we’re
always busy in the winter as the cold weather brings with it a new
set of dangers.
This is sometimes because of what people do as a reaction to
dropping temperatures, such as using old portable heaters
without checking the wiring - or lighting log fires without
having the chimney swept.
We have a range of
factsheets which explain how you can stay safe at home, but the
most important thing you can do is make sure you have working smoke
alarms on every level of your home.
That's because just three breaths of fire smoke can be fatal,
even for a young and healthy adult.
Of course babies, children and older people
are most at risk if a fire breaks out in their home, as their
bodies are even less able to cope.
Look around your living room and kitchen and
think about what it’s all made of. It’s likely to be mostly
plastics, and a lot of metal.
When a house fire takes hold and these things
burn, they produce a range of poisonous chemicals.
There’s cyanide, hydrochloric acid, sulphuric
acid and even chlorine gas. Deadly carbon monoxide is one of the
friendlier chemicals you’ll be breathing.
Get more information about keeping your home, family and friends
safe at www.3breaths.info
Did you know a third of people who die in house fires have
alcohol in their bodies, and the majority of house fires start in
the kitchen? Drinking and cooking can be a lethal combination - see
what can happen when things go wrong by watching our video at
Storage heaters are a common cause of accidental domestic fires,
often because they are used to dry clothes, which is extremely
dangerous. Have you read the instructions for yours?
Do you have a ‘real’ fire which burns wood or coal? A chimney
fire can destroy a building, because of the furnace-like
temperatures which quickly build. When did you last have your
On the road
In really bad weather, it’s better to avoid driving whenever
possible. How many of your weekly journeys are essential? Could you
find alternative ways of getting around?
The weather has a huge effect on the number of crashes we are
called to, as medical crews need us to cut people free from the
wreckage. Is your car ready for the winter? How will you change
Just as drivers spend much of their time avoiding the ice,
younger people can be attracted to it for exactly this reason and
are often tempted to play about on frozen rivers, lakes and ponds.
We have specialist training to rescue people who make this mistake,
but usually it will be too late by the time we reach them. Do you
and your family understand the risks?
If you're planning to set up a Christmas grotto for a community
event, please make sure it meets all the relevant safety
requirements. There's some advice on our business
safety section for organisers and elves alike.