News release text
Fire crews are asking residents to take sufficient safety steps over the bank holiday weekend to help prevent their DIY efforts leading to disaster.
Some DIY activities can increase the risk of fire and injury in the home. These range from fires ignited by blow torches being used to strip paint, to fires caused by faulty electrical equipment stored in a damp garage or shed over the winter months.
Whether it’s improving the kitchen, fixing up the spare room, or simply cutting the grass, accidents can happen when safety advice is ignored. The message from Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) is therefore; if you are going to do it yourself – do it safely.
KFRS Community Safety Manager, Charlie Smith, said: “For many, DIY is a pleasant pastime, but always check the task is within your capabilities before starting and seek expert advice where necessary.
“If you’re carrying out odd jobs around the home, it’s an ideal time to fit a smoke alarm in your property or ensure existing alarms are in good working condition. Just three breaths of fire smoke can be fatal, which makes these devices one of the most important safety features in your home.”
Green fingered enthusiasts are also being urged to think carefully before lighting a bonfire to dispose of garden waste.
When positioning your bonfire, ensure it is well clear of buildings, garden sheds, fences and overhanging branches. Never use accelerants such as petrol or paraffin to get it going and always keep a bucket of water or hosepipe nearby.
Charlie added: “When it comes to putting out your bonfire ensure it’s been fully extinguished before you walk away, never leave it to burn out unattended. If you bonfire does get out of control, it’s far safer to call the fire service then trying to tackle the blaze yourself.
“It’ also worth remembering that there are far more environmentally friendly ways of getting rid of garden waste without having a bonfire. Most garden waste, such as grass cuttings and leaves can be composted or taken to your local recycling centre.”
To help avoid a DIY disaster always:
Check you have the correct tools for the job
Keep children and pets safe and remove any obstructions from your workplace
When checking or repairing electrical tools always turn them off at the mains
Flammable liquids should only be used in accordance with the manufactures instructions
Before attempting to drill holes, check for electrical wiring running behind walls
Fit smoke alarms on every floor of your home and test them weekly
Take care with bonfires:
A bonfire should not contain any potentially hazardous materials which may explode or give off toxic fumes, such as; aerosols, batteries, bottles, foam-filled furniture or tins of paint
A bonfire should be kept to a manageable size and evenly built so that it collapses inwards as it burns
Always check the bonfire’s construction is still sound prior to lighting it, that there are no children or animals inside, and that hazardous items such as aerosols and fireworks have not been thrown onto it
The bonfire should not be lit by children or left unattended and nothing should be cooked on it