Winter home safety

Did you know that: 

  • Around 65 fires a year are caused by faulty electric blankets.
  •  Two fires a day are caused by heaters.
  •  In England on average, 7,700 chimney fires occur every year.

The below information will help you keep safe throughout the winter period as this can be a particularly risky time for fires due to the need to keep warm.


Heating your home

Open fires:

  • Be careful when using open fires to keep warm. Make sure you always use a fire guard to protect against flying sparks from hot embers.
  • Make sure embers are under control and properly put out before you go to bed.
  • Keep chimneys and flues clean and well maintained.

Portable heaters:

  • Keep heaters away from curtains and furniture and never use them for drying clothes.
  • Always unplug electric heaters when you go out or go to bed.
  • Try to secure heaters against a wall to stop them falling over.
  • Only use gas or paraffin heaters in well-ventilated areas.

Keeping warm

Using electric blankets:

  • Never use hot water bottles in the same bed as an electric blanket, even if the
    blanket is switched off.
  • Unplug blankets before you get into bed, unless they have a thermostat control for safe all-night use.
  • Store electric blankets flat, rolled up or loosely folded to prevent damaging the
    internal wiring.
  • Test electric blankets every three years. Age UK or your local fire and rescue service may be able to do this for you.
  • Try not to buy second-hand blankets and check regularly for wear and tear. Replace your blanket when it is more than 10 years old.
  • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

If the electricity fails

Alternative lighting:

  • Keep a battery operated light or torch handy in the event of a power cut or failure.
  • If you have to use candles or matches always take special care. Put them out completely before leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Make sure candles are secured in a proper holder and away from materials that may catch fire – like curtains.
  • Keep a mobile phone handy so you can still make an emergency call if there is a power cut.

Fire safety for thatched buildings

  • Fit a smoke alarm in the loft and make sure it is connected with other alarms in the house.
  • Use lightning conductors that have been tested and check they carry one of these signs – they show they are approved and are safe.
  • Don’t burn rubbish or garden waste near a thatched property.
  • Use a bulkhead light fitting in your loft space, instead of an exposed light bulb, as these are more of a fire hazard.
  • Never light fireworks near the property. Fit TV aerials to freestanding poles to avoid
    thatched roofs being struck by lightning.