Winter is a time for snuggling up on the sofa to enjoy warm fires and shelter from the elements. However, all the extra heating and festivities can increase the fire risk in our homes.
Luckily though, with a little awareness, you can mitigate these winter fire hazards to protect your home effectively. Let’s find out how.
5 winter fire hazards to be aware of
Here are some of the most common fire risks during the winter – and how to sidestep them.
- Be savvy with space heaters: In the chillier months, sometimes our home heating just doesn’t cut it and we’ll crack out the space heater. Small but powerful, they can warm us up in no time at all, however, it’s important to place them around three feet or more from flammable materials. Make sure clothing, cords and children are kept away, too. You should also turn off space heaters at bedtime or when you’re leaving the room.
- Take care with open flames: Whether it’s a crackling fireplace or a few candles for ambience, open flames are more common at this time of the year. As with space heaters, they should be kept well away from anything flammable and out of a child’s reach. Cats sometimes like to jump up onto furniture and tables, so take this into consideration too when placing candles. And of course, do a thorough check at the end of each day to ensure all flames are completely extinguished.
- Check over decorations: What would Christmas and New Year be without decorations? While they cheer up our homes in the winter months, you also need to make sure to decorate safely. Check over any fairy lights for broken plugs, along with frayed wires and loose connections – if your lights are looking a little worse for wear, it may not be worth the fire risk and could be a signal to treat yourself to a new set. Also, Christmas trees, tinsel and paper chains should be kept out of the way of open flames, and sockets should not be overloaded.
- Cook carefully: Most home fire incidents begin in the kitchen, and so extra care needs to be taken in this space. This season brings lots of opportunity for celebration and dining, so make sure your ovens and stoves are not left unattended in the hustle and bustle – leaving timers or notes for yourself can help with keeping on top of all of your cooking equipment. Remember to use the extractor fan and open a window to stop fumes and smoke building up too much.
- Maintain fire safety equipment: All homes should be kitted out with fire alarms, and it’s recommendable to also have a fire extinguisher on standby. However, these pieces of life-saving equipment are only useful if they are actually working properly – and the only way to guarantee this is to regularly maintain and check their quality. Leave notes on your calendar if you find it hard to remember to do this maintenance.
Here at ASCO Fire Group, we’re fully qualified and third-party certified fire safety experts who serve businesses across Edinburgh, Glasgow and Midlothian. We help commercial premises comply with the law by providing top-of-the-range fire equipment and protection services, including risk assessments and training. Get in touch to learn more.