Stay ‘fire safe’ during the coronavirus crisis

The Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service is reminding people of its advice to keep safe during the coronavirus crisis, when they are being asked to stay at home unless absolutely necessary.

Dan Tasker, Senior Fire Officer for the Isle of Wight, said: “With everyone spending far more time at home than they normally would, I want to remind Islanders of the need to keep ‘fire safe’.

“Please check that your smoke alarms work once a week — if they don’t, put batteries or a new smoke alarm on your essential items shopping list or these can be ordered online. Early warning saves lives.

“There should be a minimum of one smoke alarm on each floor of your home. Please remember detection does not stop a fire, prevention does.”

Cooking fires are a major concern as people are expected to cook more during the day – and parents who have children at home could become distracted.

As people who don’t usually work from home set up temporary offices, there is also a risk of an increase in electrical fires.

Hazards include overloading plug sockets, using counterfeit or incorrect chargers for tablets, laptops and mobile phones and “daisy-chaining” — plugging multiple extension leads together or plugging many multi-socket adaptors into a single socket.

Mr Tasker added: “Know your escape plan; what is your route out of the house. It’s the plan that could save your life in an emergency.”

With around 60 per cent of fires in the home starting in the kitchen, Islanders should:
• Consider fitting a heat alarm; these can be purchased online and are battery powered like smoke alarms.
• Consider having a fire blanket available, much safer than a fire extinguisher in the kitchen environment.
• Not leave cooking unattended.
• Keep tea towels or cloths away from the hob area.
• Keep the cooker hob and grill as free from fat build up as you can as grease can ignite and cause a fire.
• Check the hob/grill/cooker is turned off when you finish cooking.
• Check toasters are not under kitchen cabinets or close to anything that could catch fire.
• Never put anything metal in a microwave.
• Always keep an eye on children in the kitchen.
*Smokers should never smoke in bed, or on the sofa when tired as you may doze off. Also never leave cigarettes unattended.

People should also think about their routine before going to sleep:
• Close all doors.
• Switch off all electrical appliances and do not charge mobile phones, tablets or laptops overnight.
• Don’t put washing machine or tumble dryer on overnight.
• Turn off heaters.
• Make sure all candles and cigarettes are out properly.
• Make sure all exit routes are clear.
• If your front and back doors are locked by key, leave them in the same place every night so all the family will know where they are.