Moorlands firefighters are urging people to make sure they stay safe as sub-zero temperatures hit Staffordshire this week.
With the Met Office forecasting temperatures to drop below zero this week, more and more people will be looking to more cost-effective ways to heat their homes.
Some of these methods and devices can seriously endanger lives, due to their high risk of causing an accidental fire or carbon monoxide poisoning. These include outdoor barbecues and camping stoves which are being used indoors, diesel heaters and homemade log burners in makeshift fireplaces.
You should not use these, or any similar devices, to heat your home.
Ian Read, Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Head of Prevent, Protect and Partnerships, said: “The cost of living crisis has meant that now, more than ever, people are struggling to heat their homes affordably.
“As the most vulnerable try to be more resourceful in keeping their homes warm, they are potentially creating a serious fire hazard, which endangers their own lives and that of those around them.
“As we always say, prevention is better than cure. It is far easier for you to safely heat your home than it is for us to put out a fire.”
“Responsible heating is the only way to ensure your safety during these freezing conditions.”
Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service offer free Safe and Well Visits to qualifying residents. This involves a firefighter or technician visiting your home to identify any fire safety hazards and to provide equipment or advice to reduce the likelihood of a fire occurring. You can freephone 0800 0241 999 to see if you are eligible for a visit.
Officers also want to remind people – especially parents and dog walkers – about the potentially fatal dangers of frozen water. From small ponds and lakes to large rivers and canals, extra care must be taken to avoid any accidents or complications with frozen water..
Pets should be kept on a lead at all times, but if you see your them or anyone else on or in frozen water, you must not go after them.
In all instances, contact as soon as possible. Specialist equipment can help to get the individuals or animals out of danger.
Ian added: “Frozen water is often not as strong as it looks – the ice can easily break and cause shock to set in should anyone fall through.
“Dog walkers and people near frozen water need to take extra care to make sure they don’t accidentally fall in. Playing and walking on frozen water can easy turn fatal and should be avoided at all costs.
“By taking extra steps and speaking to people about the dangers involved with cold weather snaps, we can all work together to minimise risk, stop tragic accidents and help keep our communities safe.”
To read more on how to stay safe around frozen water, visit: Frozen waters (staffordshirefire.gov.uk)