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Keep them safe this winter


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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

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 chimney swept?

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 your driving?


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?

Christmas grottoes

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.

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