Getting ready for winter

The Met Office has set up a website entitled ‘Getting Ready for Winter’ offering advice and guidance covering staying warm and well, travel, protecting the home and helping in the community.

Its safety advice for the home offers the following guidelines:

  • Make sure you have a smoke alarm on every floor of your house.
  • People with open fires should ensure their chimneys are swept. Always use a fireguard and make sure the fire is out properly when you leave or go to bed.
  • Portable heaters must be kept away from curtains and furniture and shouldn’t be used for drying clothes. Always unplug electric heaters before going to bed.
  • If you have an electric blanket do not use a hot water bottle even if the blanket is switched off. Unplug blanket before going to bed, unless they have a thermostatic control and are designed to be left on all night.
  • Don’t leave lit candles unattended. They should be secured in a proper holder away from materials that could catch fire such as curtains.
  • Take time to check on older relatives and neighbours, Make sure they are warm and safe this winter and have smoke alarms fitted.

* The Met Office is the UK’s National Weather Service. It employs more than 1,800 people at 60 locations throughout the world, and is recognised as one of the world’s most accurate forecasters, using more than 10 million weather observations a day, It is now working with the NHS to provide information on how the weather affects hospital admissions and helping them manage workloads. It is also helping people with certain medical conditions, advising them when the weather could affect their health, helping them to stay healthy and out of hospital.

Taking care with candles

As the evenings get colder and darker many people like to make their homes more cosy in the evenings by lighting a few candles.
But, in the UK, there are over 150 serious fires each year that are caused by candles.

To make sure that you are not a victim of a candle fire make sure you adhere to the following advice:

– Never leave burning candles unattended. Put burning candles out when you leave the room, and make sure they’re completely out at night.

– Always place your candles/tea lights in a suitable fire resistant candleholder.

– Always put the candleholder on a heat resistant surface like a ceramic plate (tea lights can melt plastic surfaces such as the top of a television or side of a bath).

– Place candles carefully. Make sure they are on a stable surface, out of reach of pets and children, and keep them away from flammable objects like curtains, furniture, bedding and books.

– Don’t move candles once they have been lit.

– Burn candles in a well ventilated room, out of draughts, vents or air currents. This will help prevent rapid or uneven burning, soot and dripping.

– Always leave at least four inches (10cm) between burning candles/tea lights and never place them under shelves or other enclosed spaces. Make sure there’s at least three feet (one metre) between a candle and any surface above it.

– It is recommended that a candle ‘snuffer’ or a metal spoon be used to put the candle/tea light out.

And make sure that you are protected by a smoke alarm and have a fire extinguisher in the house should items in the house catch fire.