Save safely

Safe Safely image

Kent Fire and Rescue Service wants to help you to save money safely when cutting costs in response to the rising cost of living. That's why we've created a Save Safely campaign to share our money saving tips while helping to keep you safe and reduce your fire risk.

If you're thinking about doing things differently at home to bring down the price of energy bills, it's important to remember do so safely. This can include  thinking about the hazards that come with changing your usual routine.   

Everyone can help to try and prevent fires. One important and essential thing to do is to fit a working smoke alarm on every floor of your property so you’re alerted quickly if there were a fire.  

Energy saving tips

Stay safe and warm

While you may be looking to save money on energy bills, it’s important for everyone to be sufficiently warm to stay well - particularly babies, older people and people with a health condition. The NHS suggests homes should ideally be at least 18 degrees during the winter. 

Heat the body, not the home 

Try setting yourself a challenge to delay when you start regularly using your central heating. Most people have a set time of year when they feel it's acceptable to start reaching for the thermostat, but why not consider delaying that by a month or so and opting to layer up your clothing/blankets instead to help save money? 

Set the timer 

When you need to use your central heating more regularly, check if your system has a timer function.

The timer can be used to switch your heating on an off so that you use it less. For example, turning your heating on just for the coldest parts of the day, such as a few hours in the evening and in the morning when you’re waking up means you won’t forget to turn it off and it will help to save you money.  

Heat individual rooms 

If you’re able to switch individual radiators off in your home, save money by turning off those in spaces that aren’t often used, only keeping radiators switched on in the rooms you use most.  

Heating hazards

If you decide you want to try not using central heating at all and are looking for alternative ways to stay warm, it’s important to know the hazards and how to reduce your fire risk.  

Electric heaters
  • make sure they are in good working order, have ‘feet’ attached to lift the base off the floor, and get them serviced regularly 
  • keep them well away from furniture, curtains, clothes, plants or anything else that could catch fire 
  • when using electricity and electrical appliances, it’s very important to make sure you don’t overload sockets. Try out the ‘Socket Overload Calculator’ to see if you’re using electricity safely 
  • find more electrical safety tips on the Electrical Safety First website.
Electric blankets
  • check your electric blanket for wear and tear and if it is worn, replace it before use  
  • make sure it has safety features including automatic switch-off at a certain temperature or after a time limit  
  • if a person suffers from incontinence, remove electric blankets from beds and do not use  
  • never use a hot water bottle when using an electric blanket - water and electricity don’t mix 
  • find more electrical safety tips on the Electrical Safety First website.
Log burners and open fireplaces
  • it’s important to make sure your chimneys, fire places and log burning stoves are swept and cleaned before use  
  • always use a spark guard, even if you think the fire has died out. Sparks can still unexpectedly shoot out of even a damped-down fire and set fire to your home.  
  • avoid drying clothes in front of an open fire – this is a big fire risk!   
  • ensure wood, coal and other fuels are stored at a safe distance from the fire.  
  • make sure that there is no clutter on or around the fireplace. 
Wheat bags
  • avoid overheating wheat bags in the microwave by following the instruction on the packaging exactly  
  • before grabbing it out of the microwave after heating, check it’s not too hot first by poking it with your finger 
  • if you do accidentally burn yourself, follow our cool, call, cover advice 
Hot water bottles
  • don’t overfill hot water bottles and ensure all air is out of the bottle, screwing the lid on tightly  
  • always use a hot water bottle cover to prevent burns 
  • never use one at the same time as an electric blanket – water and electricity don’t mix 
  • if you do accidentally burn yourself, follow our cool, call, cover advice 


Other hazards

Camping stoves and barbecues

It’s vital barbecues and camping stoves are only used outdoors and not brought or used indoors - even with windows and doors open there’s will not be enough ventilation to protect you from toxic fumes, and it could result in carbon monoxide poisoning. To learn more please see our sections on Barbecues and Carbon monoxide poisoning in our A-Z of Home Safety 

White goods
  • make sure washing machines, tumble dryers and dishwashers are not used overnight or when no one’s home – if there’s a fire no one will be there to raise the alarm 
  •  tumble dryer lint filters need to be cleaned weekly and vacuumed monthly, to reduce the risk of fire 
  • candles should be fitted in a candle holder, placed on a non-flammable surface 
  • don’t leave them unattended when burning, especially with young children or pets around 
  • make sure they aren't burning close to curtains, bedding, clothing or plants which might catch fire 
  • be sure not to place burning candles on window sills or on the floor 
  • extinguish all candles before going to bed 
  • burning candles shouldn't be placed anywhere where they might be knocked over or caught in a draught 
  • it is best not to move candles when they are alight or while the wax is molten - if you do accidentally burn yourself, follow our cool, call, cover advice 
Boiler  maintenance

Don’t put off getting your boiler looked at if it needs a service, or if you think there is a problem with it – while it will cost money, your safety is worth every penny. 

Carbon monoxide

Carbon monoxide can be given off by any appliance which burns a fossil fuel such as gas, coal or oil. It can enter your room if your appliance is faulty, or if the room is not properly ventilated, or the chimney or flue is blocked. 

  • to make sure your appliances are safe, have them properly installed and regularly maintained 
  • gas appliances must be serviced by engineers who are members of the Gas Safe Register
  • make sure your home is properly ventilated - never block vents 
  • make sure all chimneys and flues are regularly swept and kept clear 
  • if you are buying a carbon monoxide detector get it from a reputable outlet, such as a DIY store. 
Counterfeit products
  • fake electrical products claiming to be 'real' could be unsafe or faulty, increasing the risk of fire
  • be sure to purchase electrical goods from retailers you know and trust, either from the manufacturer’s website or from a trusted high street name
  • spotting a fake product within online marketplaces can be difficult – if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is
  • Ii the seller claims the product is ‘genuine’, ‘real’ or ‘authentic’ double check the source, because most reputable retailers don’t need to describe their products like this
Secondhand goods

If buying second-hand electrical goods:

  • see if the product has been recalled by using Electrical Safety First’s online product checker 
  • check the product has a three-pin UK plug, which should also include a fuse
  • make sure there’s a certification label on the product and its packaging
  • electrical appliances should have a model serial number on the product  - use this to register it. This makes it easy for the manufacturer to contact you if it needs to be recalled due to a fault or safety reason. 
Safe storage of petrol

It’s not advisable to store petrol at home, as this increases the risk of a fire. But if you do, be sure to follow safety guidelines.

Patio heaters

Never use a patio indoors – they are only suitable and safe to use outside, on patios, terraces and gardens. More patio heater safety information can be found on Electrical Safety First’s website.


Need financial help to heat your home?

If you or someone you know can't afford to heat their home, financial support and discounts are available from the Government.  

Kent residents can seek assistance via Kent County Council, and Medway residents through Medway Council