Living in a cold home is not just uncomfortable, it can be quite hazardous too. Making sure your home stays at a temperature of around 18°C can help prevent health problems. That said, there are many reasons that someone may find themselves struggling to keep warm over winter. Whether its paying the bills, broken equipment, complicated heating equipment, poor insulation or property in a poor state of repair or perhaps even a misconception that being cold is good for you.

Keep Safe, Warm and Well this Winter

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Don’t just batten down the hatches this winter. If you are struggling to keep your home and yourself warm, let us in we can help. For our part Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service can provide a Home Fire Safety Check wherein we can assess the fire risk of your property and tailor advice to your needs and also refer you on to the right people who can support you from the Priority Services Register.

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Safe, Warm and Well in Winter

Keeping warm is key during the winter months but we want you to stay safe too. Here are some top safety tips when it comes to alternative ways of heating your home.

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Candles should be secured in proper holders, away from materials that can catch fire. Never leave lit candles unattended.

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Rooms with gas heaters and fires should be well ventilated. Appliances should be maintained regularly. Consider having a carbon monoxide alarm installed too.

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Use fire guards to prevent embers igniting nearby combustibles. Keep the chimney swept regularly and don’t sit or stand too close.

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Only use heaters that are in good working order and keep them a safe distance from combustible materials.

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Wheat Bags – Check the manufacturers instructions and your microwave settings carefully as wheat bags can easily overheat.

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Snow and Cold Weather Driving

When cold weather hits, it’s important to stay safe on the roads as driving can be hazardous. Here are our top tips.

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If you find yourself driving in snow or on icy or snow covered roads, adapt your driving to these conditions.

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Let someone know where you are going and what time you hope to arrive, so that they can raise the alarm if you get into difficulties.

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If you don’t have an emergency kit in your vehicle, at least take extra warm clothes, boots and a torch. Consider keeping a couple of long-life energy bars in the glove box.

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Increase the gap between you and the vehicle in front. You may need up to TEN TIMES the normal distances for braking.

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Ensure your tyres are correctly inflated and have plenty of tread on them. This will help you control the vehicle better in the icy and snowy conditions.

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To brake on ice and snow without locking your wheels, get into a low gear earlier than normal, allow your speed to fall and use your brakes gently.

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Clear your windows and mirrors completely of snow and ice before you set off.

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Always ensure you wear a seatbelt. Be aware too that it is the drivers responsibility to ensure anyone under the age of 14 travelling in a vehicle is wearing a seatbelt, by law.

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Remove any snow from your vehicle that could fall off into the path of other road users before you set off.

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Is your vehicle is a good driving condition? Have you checked your oil levels, windscreen washing solution levels, lights, batteries and fuel levels recently?

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Never leave your vehicle unattended whilst defrosting.

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Are you fit to drive? Driving in snow and ice is more arduous than normal, dry, driving conditions. Make sure you’ve had plenty of rest and take breaks if necessary.

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Chimney Safety

Chimney fires have been increasing in recent years with the resurgence in popularity of multi-fuel and solid fuel fires.

Whether you’ve had an open fire for years or are relatively new to it all, here’s some handy tips on how to use them safely and avoid having a chimney fire.

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Make sure that you have a least one working smoke alarm in your property.

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Clean your chimney regularly. Advice on this can be gained from the National Association of Chimney Sweeps (NACS) at www.nacs.org.uk

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Be aware of the need for adequate ventilation. There can be a build up of carbon monoxide as a result of burning some fuels and so we would advise you have a carbon monoxide alarm installed in your property as well as a smoke alarm.

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Always use a fire guard. It will help prevent embers “jumping” out from the fire and keep pets and young children safe from flames.

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Never dry clothing on a fire guard or on a multi-fuel burner. Avoid standing too close to a fire, especially when wearing loose clothing as you may not notice how if the radiated heat has ignited your clothes.

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Avoid burning household rubbish and soft woods as it can cause a build up of resin, tar/soot in the flue linings and start a chimney fire.