Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service warns about home safety as Autumn approaches
As Autumn is approaching, Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service is asking the countyâ€™s residents to be prepared in the home.
When the time comes for us all to consider using our heating more we need to make sure we have prepared for them to be safe to use. It is important to highlight two Safety weeks.
Chimney Fire Safety Week
Chimney Fire Safety Week (9â€“15 September) provides a timely reminder to make sure that your chimney is ready for the winter months ahead. As part of the national Fire Kills campaign, Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service is urging householders to ensure their chimney is safe and to have their chimney swept by a registered chimney sweep.
Open fires not only warm up a home, but also create a unique relaxing ambience. With the numbers of people using open fires growing, the Fire Kills campaign has provided some top tips for safer chimneys:
- Always use a fire guard to protect against flying sparks from hot embers
- Make sure embers are properly put out before you go to bed
- Keep chimneys and flues clean and well maintained
Doug Underwood, Community Safety Manager at Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service, explains: â€œWith the colder, winter months looming, people will begin to start using open fires and their chimneys again. In order to keep you and your family safe from fire, you need to take necessary steps such as ensuring your chimney is swept regularly, depending upon what fuel you burn and I would urge all householders to have a working smoke alarm in their home.â€
- Smokeless coals At least once a year
- Wood Up to four times a year
- Bituminous coal Twice a year
- Oil Once a year
- Gas Once a year
Doug added: â€œLatest statistics show that there are approximately 7,000 chimney fires a year in England, but most chimney fires are preventable. In Norfolk during the 12 months of 2013/14, we attended seven chimney fires and there were others we were not called to.
â€œAll chimneys and flue-ways should be cleaned and checked during the summer months to ensure theyâ€™re free from debris and in full working order before the heating season. A blocked or defective chimney can cause both chimney fires and carbon monoxide poisonings so itâ€™s very important to employ a professional qualified Chimney Sweep.â€
Gas Safety Week
As part of the Fire Kills campaign, Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service have pledged its support for Gas Safety Week (15-21 September).
This fourth annual Gas Safety Week will see the whole industry coming together to bring gas safety to the forefront of peopleâ€™s minds. Dangerous gas work can kill, so it is vital that gas appliances are safety checked at least once a year. If left unchecked, poorly serviced gas appliances can cause gas leaks, fires, explosions and carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. In the last year alone, 343 people were injured and 10 people died as a result of gas related incidents. In Norfolk, between April 2012 and March 2014 there were 14 incidents attended by the Fire and Rescue Service involving carbon monoxide.
Paul Smyth, Chairman of Norfolk County Councilâ€™s Communities Committee, said: â€œMany of us probably donâ€™t want to start thinking about putting the heating on and lighting fires to keep warm yet, but as the temperature has dropped in recent weeks it is important to be prepared.
â€œI would urge people to take heed of the advice from Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service and the Fire Kills campaign. Ensuring you are ready for the winter months will ultimately lead to a safer home and by having those preparations in place it could prove to be less costly in the long run.â€
People can sign up to a free reminder service at www.StayGasSafe.co.uk and use the interactive gas map to see how many unsafe gas appliances are lurking in an area.
Russell KrÃ¤mer, Chief Executive for Gas Safe Register, said: â€œEvery year, far too many people suffer from preventable gas related accidents, such as gas leaks, explosions, fires and carbon monoxide poisoning. Itâ€™s great therefore, that Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service, as part of the Fire Kills campaign, has pledged its support and is raising awareness of gas safety issues, helping to let the 23 million gas consumers in the UK know about the simple checks they can make to stay safe.â€
Follow these simple checks to stay gas safe:
- Always use a Gas Safe registered engineer when having gas work carried out in your home. You can find a registered engineer in your area by calling Gas Safe Register on 0800 408 5500 or visit www.GasSafeRegister.co.uk
- Get your gas appliances safety checked at least once a year and serviced in line with the manufacturerâ€™s instructions. This includes your gas boiler, gas cooker and gas fire. Sign up at www.staygassafe.co.uk for a free reminder service.Â
- Check the front and back of your engineerâ€™s Gas Safe Register ID card, making sure they are qualified to do the specific type of gas work you require.
- Install an audible carbon monoxide alarm which will alert you if dangerous levels are present in your home.
- Check for warning signs your appliances arenâ€™t working correctly, such as lazy yellow or orange flames instead of crisp blue ones, black marks on or around the appliance and too much condensation in the room.
For more information or to find Gas Safe registered engineer visit www.GasSafeRegister.co.uk or call 0800 408 5500.