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Reducing risks in winter

Cold weather can increase the dangers in your home through additional measures taken to keep warm.  In the UK on average, 12,000 chimney fires occur every year.

Consider the following during cold weather to prevent a fire from happening in your home:

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  • Make sure you know where the stop-cock is for your water supply in case you have a burst pipe. If you do have a burst pipe, turn your water supply off first before calling for help. 
  • Always use a fire guard to protect an open fire against flying sparks and hot embers and make sure embers are put out before you go out or go to bed.
  • If you use a blanket or throw over to keep warm, always remember to keep them away from open fires and heaters. Some materials can catch fire very easily. It is safer to use natural fibres like wool for blankets as they are more resistant to flames and sparks.
  • If you use an electric blanket to keep warm during cold nights, don't use a hot water bottle in the same bed, even if the blanket is switched off. View our information on electrical fire safety.
  • Unplug electric blankets before you go to bed unless it has a thermostat for safe all-night use.
  • Take extra care with portable heaters - don't dry clothes on them or put them too close to soft furnishings.
  • If using candles, take care with them. Only use the proper holders and don't use tea lights unless they are standing in a holder or on a saucer.
  • Remember that Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service might not be able to get to you as quickly as usual, in severe weather, so be extra vigilant against fire in the home. Check that your smoke alarms work.
  • Make sure your central heating system is regularly serviced and you are not at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Make sure you have adequate supplies of fuel and, if you have an open fire, make sure the chimney is swept regularly to prevent a chimney fire.
  • Plan your escape route in case of a fire.

View the Fire safety in the winter leaflet.

For more information on preparing for snow and ice in Cornwall, visit the Emergency Management web page on severe cold weather which provides more information.