Residents urged to follow safety advice following house fires

CLEVELAND Fire Brigade is urging residents to follow basic safety advice following three house fires on the same day.

The Brigade was called out to three serious house fires yesterday (23 Sept) in the Middlesbrough area which resulted in two casualties suffering from smoke inhalation.

John Feeney, District Manager for Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland with Cleveland Fire Brigade, said: “We are extremely concerned about attending three serious house fires yesterday. Any one of these incidents could have resulted in one or more fatalities. We strongly urge householders to take simple precautions to keep themselves and their families safe.”

The main causes of accidental house fires are: cooking, smoking and faulty or misused electrical appliances.

Cooking safety:

• Stand by your pan – take pans off the heat and turn off the hob and/or grill if you have to leave the kitchen while cooking.

• Chuck out your chip pan – it could save your life.

• Keep your cooker and grill pan clean – burnt food and fat can and does cause fires.

• Don’t drink and fry – fires start when you fall asleep whilst cooking food.

• Keep tea towels and cloths away from your cooker and hob.

• Make sure the oven, hob and grill is turned off when you have finished cooking.

Smoking safety:

• Put it out, right out – make sure your cigarette, cigar or pipe is out when you’ve finished smoking it.

• Never leave lit cigarettes, cigars or pipes unattended – they can easily overbalance as they burn down, land on a carpet or newspaper and start a fire.

• Take extra care when you’re tired, have been drinking alcohol or taking medication that can make you drowsy. It’s very easy to fall asleep without realising your cigarette is still burning.

• Never smoke in bed – if you need to lie down, don’t light up. You could doze off and set your bed on fire.

• Always use a proper, heavy ashtray that won’t tip over easily and is made of a material that won’t burn.

• Never tip ash into a wastebasket.

Electrical safety:

• Unplug appliances and electrical equipment when not in use, unless they are designed to be left on, like your fridge or freezer.

• Don’t overload plug sockets – extension leads and adaptors will have a limit to how many amps they can take. Try to keep one plug per socket.

• Regularly check for worn or frayed wires – always ensure cables are secured properly to the plug before plugging in anything.

• Keep heaters clear from curtains and furniture – never use them to dry clothes.

The Brigade provides free Home Fire Safety Visits and will fit smoke alarms if needed. Call 01429 874063 to arrange a visit to your home and you will receive specific fire safety advice for you and your family.