As West Sussex shivers in the grip of dropping temperatures firefighters are urging people to take a few simple precautions so they stay safe in their homes.
West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service's Community Fire Safety Manager, Jackie Boyle, said:
"With the onset of this very cold weather, many of us are spending more time indoors trying to keep as warm as possible. Understandably, some people may be turning to extra heat sources like electric blankets and portable heaters to keep out the winter chill, but these bring with them an increased risk of fire in your home.
"More accidental fires occur in the winter than any other times so we recommend people take a few simple precautions to ensure they stay safe as well as warm during this cold snap. Older residents often feel the cold more and can be particularly vulnerable, so it's especially important for friends, relatives and neighbours to keep an eye out for them.
"Don't forget we offer free Home Fire Safety Visits for those over 65 or those who may be at higher risk of fire. A visit can significantly reduce the risk of a fire occurring and give you that extra peace of mind."
West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service offers the following advice:
- Switch portable heaters off when you are not in the room and keep them well away from anything that could catch light like furnishings
- Never put anything on/over a portable heater or use it to dry clothes
- Never use an oven to heat your home
- Unplug electric blankets before you get into bed, unless they have a thermostat control for safe all-night use
- Have your chimney professionally swept at least once a year, twice a year if burning wood
- Never leave candles and tea lights unattended and make sure they are placed on a heat resistant surface
- Working smoke alarms save lives - test yours regularly and think about elderly or vulnerable relatives or friends who may need assistance testing theirs
To find out if you are eligible for a Home Safety Visit call 0845 872 9719
To find out about free services which can give advice on keeping warm and energy advice contact your local wellbeing hub at www.westsussexwellbeing.org.uk