Winter safety advice

As the nights get darker and the weather gets colder, we are all turning inwards, to cosy evenings in front of the fire, and to keeping well wrapped up indoors.

It’s important at this time to remember some key safety tips for staying safe as you stay warm.

Most homes these days don’t have open fires, instead we rely on central heating and a reliable boiler to keep us toasty. But, if you are lucky enough to have a fireplace, be sure to get that chimney swept before you light the first fires of the season – just to be sure that a friendly sparrow hasn’t built a nest that will stop smoke escaping! You might get lucky and not have a chimney fire, but smoke billowing back into your living room can not only cause a significant amount of damage, it can also kill.

You should also be sure to have a reliable fire guard to prevent any sparks from jumping out onto your carpets when you aren’t paying attention.

For most of us though, that’s a distant worry… Instead we are simply flicking a switch and basking in the warmth of good plumbing and radiators. But have you made sure you’re still safe with these?

Tempting though it is to drape laundry across radiators to get it dry quicker, be careful that you aren’t covering any older radiators or any vents, this could cause it to overheat and that can be a safety risk.

Plug-in heating can also add a nice boost of warmth, but never leave a fan heater unattended or let anything drape or cover over it.

One other plug-in favourite we might pretend not to have is an electric blanket. They are a long-standing favourite for anyone who outgrew their hot water bottle, but please be aware that they are never designed to be on all night, or to be slept on whilst still live. An electric blanket is simply to get your bed warm and ready – please check the safety instructions and be sure you switch yours off before you go to sleep.

A final word from us: every home should have functioning smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms; be sure to check yours regularly and replace batteries as soon as they run low; if you check yours today you’ll be able to relax and get cosy, however you heat your home.