Winter fire safety

Winter brings a unique set of fire dangers that you need to be aware of. Follow these fire safety tips to help keep yourself and your family safe, no matter the season.

Fireplaces and chimneys

  • Clean chimneys and flues before you light the first fire of the season.
  • Always use a fireguard or spark-guard when using an open fire.
  • Never throw rubbish into the fireplace – particularly batteries and aerosol cans.
  • Always empty ashes and ashtrays into a metal bin and pour water over them before disposal. Remember that ashes can take up to 5 days to cool.
  • Keep matches, lighters and anything else that can create fire out of reach of children.

Electric blankets

  • Replace your electric blanket every 5 years with newer heat-protected models, which are safer.
  • Worn and old electric blankets can cause an electric shock, fire and possibly even death.
  • At the first sign of wear have your electric blanket checked by a qualified electrician.
  • Don't place heavy objects on the bed while the blanket is on.
  • Make sure the blanket is always flat on the bed and that controls or cords are not twisted or caught between the mattress and the base of the bed. Twisted cords are a common cause of electric blanket fires.
  • Roll your blanket when you store it for the summer, don't fold it.
  • Check your electric blanket is in good working order before you use it and turn it off before you go to sleep.

Heaters and clothes dryers

  • Remember the 'heater metre' rule: keep flammable materials at least one metre away from any heat sources. And it’s one heater or larger appliance per plug – no more.
  • Never cover heating appliances or store objects on top of them.
  • Don't overload clothes dryers and clean the lint filter after each load cycle.

Portable LPG gas heaters

  • Check to see the gas hose is in good condition and doesn't show any signs of damage or wear.
  • If the heater does not light straight away, turn it off and then try again. Don't let the gas build up before trying to relight it.
  • Always have fresh air coming into rooms where a gas heater is in use.
  • Have your heater serviced every 12 months.

Other fire safety tips to remember:

  • Fire moves incredibly fast – a house fire can kill within three minutes. Keep your smoke alarms in working order by pressing the button to check.
  • Make a household escape plan so you can get out safely during a fire. Always keep keys in deadlocks on doors and windows.
  • Don’t leave the room when cooking. If you need to, remember to switch off before you walk off. 

We’re here to help. At no cost to you, we are happy to visit your home and:

  • Check existing smoke alarms to ensure they work and are in the right places.
  • Install smoke alarms, if you need them.
  • Help you make an escape plan
  • Call 0800 693 473 or your local fire station to schedule a visit.

Want to make sure your home is fire safe? Use our fire safety checklist to find anything that might be putting you at risk.