Stay safe this winter by reducing the risk of fire

Avon Fire & Rescue Service.

Avon Fire & Rescue Service (AF&RS) is reminding people of some top tips to help get their homes ready for winter – and to reduce the risk of fire.

Using portable heaters, log fires and electric blankets in one room may seem like a win-win situation, especially in these financially-challenging times.

Keeping you and your loved ones warm in that one room while keeping your heating and energy costs low sounds like a good idea, but you could pay the ultimate price if a fire starts.

So now that the darker nights and colder days are with us, AF&RS wants to remind people of some simple steps they can take to help stay safe.

Electric blankets

You should always buy an electric blanket from a reliable source and make sure that it has a UK safety standard mark.

Other tips in relation to electric blankets include:

  • Never buy second-hand electric blankets; they may not meet current safety requirements;
  • Always read and follow manufacturer’s instructions;
  • Examine your blanket regularly for signs of wear or damage;
  • Don’t use the blanket while it’s still folded or creased;
  • Don’t use a hot water bottle at the same time as using the electric blanket; and
  • Don’t touch the blanket if you have wet hands or feet, and never use the blanket if it’s wet or damp.

Portable heaters

Plug-in heaters use a lot of electricity and generate a lot of heat. This means they can be dangerous if they are not bought from reputable shops and used correctly.

Other tips in relation to portable heaters include:

  • Position them clear of curtains and furnishings;
  • Keep at least three feet – one metre – away from them.
  • Have fireguards to prevent and protect children and/or pets from coming into contact with them; and
  • Never dry washing on or near them, or on the fireguards.


Chimneys with fires using smokeless fuel, bituminous coal, oil and gas should be swept at least once a year. Those using wood should be swept every three months when in use.

Smoke alarms

And last, but by absolutely no means least, think about smoke alarms, which have proven to provide an early warning that a fire has started, and gives people those vital extra minutes to safely escape.

Top tips concerning smoke alarms include:

  • Ensure you have a working smoke alarm on every level of your home;
  • Check that the batteries are working at least once a week; and
  • Keep your smoke alarm clean and free from dust.

For even more fire safety advice, visit

Source: Avon Fire & Rescue Service