As winter sets in, no doubt you will be using your heating equipment more often than you would during the rest of the year. So it may not come as much of a surprise to hear that heating equipment is the highest cause of house fires between the months of December and February. This is due to people being unaware of the risks or simply being careless. You can take simple steps like keeping anything flammable at least 3 feet away from heaters, never using an oven to heat your home, turning moveable heaters off when you exit a room or when you are sleeping and testing fire alarms regularly. But what are the risks where heaters are concerned and how can we make sure we are careful?
Space heaters are commonly used to heat a single room or a small area in a building. However these heaters carry a higher risk of fire with 2 in 3 house fires being caused by them. The most common things to set on fire due to space heaters are curtains, clothes, furniture and the carpets surrounding them. Most people who use them are sensitive to cold temperatures and just want to add a little extra heat but please be careful when using the heaters and do not ever leave them unattended and never use them in a kitchen or bathroom.
Electric blankets are a popular way of keeping warm in bed on a night but they are the cause of up to around 5000 house fires a year! Up until recently electric blankets were constantly being recalled and banned but they are now hitting the shops again and with the regulations on these items changing they are once again in high demand. But how can you make sure to remain safe? Firstly, do not buy a second hand electric blanket. Secondly make sure you replace your blanket at least every 10 years – change it before this if it shows any signs of damage. When using your blanket always makes sure you always follow instructions and never leave the blanket on overnight.
Gas fires if not looked after can be very hazardous and sometimes cause fatal accidentals. Gas fires have even been known to destroy houses through explosions. The gas used for stoves and fires is extremely flammable and if you aren’t aware that there is a gas leak then you are risking your life – the simplest thing like striking a match or turning the burner on can cause a full street closure.
So how can we be sure this doesn’t happen to us? If you think you can smell gas call your supplier, even if it’s a false alarm you are better safe than sorry. Your supplier will send someone out to check over your property and fix the problem. Do not try and fix it yourself. Not only will the air catch fire but it can also cause a fire that will heat its surroundings so a dangerous level. Keep an eye on your fireplace to make sure it doesn’t overheat. The first thing you should do if you do see flames is turn off your gas fire and try to put it out with a blanket. If it’s too large you will need to use a fire extinguisher. If everything else fails call 999 and evacuate the property.
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Not only is fire a high risk but you could be paying too much for your gas this winter causing you to use extra heaters like stated above. Visit uSwitch.com and see if you are entitled to an electric heating allowance and above all, stay safe!