Covid-19: Safety tips from Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue

Covid-19: Safety tips from Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue

Published at 7:30am 28th March 2020. (Updated at 10:04am 28th March 2020)

5 minute read

Firefighters are asking us to not be complacent and step up our home safety while we're spending more time there.

Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue (DWFRS) are reminding us of their advice to keep us safe.

During the coronavirus outbreak, we're being asked to stay at home unless absolutely necessary.

The advice comes as firefighters attend an increasing number of shouts to bonfires over the last few days.

A plea to reduce pressure during the coronavirus pandemic

Here's their tips: 

  • Make sure you have a smoke alarm on each level of the house and test the batteries regularly
  • Take extra care when cooking - never leave cooking unattended or leave children alone in the kitchen when the hob or oven is on; and never cook while under the influence of alcohol
  • Plan an escape route in case there is a fire in the home and make sure everyone in the property knows what to do
  • Check for fire hazards, such as electrical items or hobs left switched on, before you go to bed
  • Don't overload plug sockets - keep to one plug per socket and also look out for plugs and cables that are poorly wired, as they can be dangerous
  • Always stub out cigarettes properly and dispose of them carefully - don't smoke in bed or anywhere you could fall asleep
  • Make sure candles are placed in a secure holder and kept away from curtains, fabrics and paper; always put candles out before going to bed or leaving the room
  • NEVER try and tackle any fire yourself - get out, stay out and call 999

Area Manager Craig Baker, Head of Prevention and Protection at DWFRS, said: 

"The recent Government decisions to close schools and businesses, so that as many people as possible stay safe in their homes, is something we want all of our communities to understand and support. The only way for us to slow the spread of Covid 19 is to avoid socialising and to maintain at least two metres of distance when we do have to venture out.

"However, we are also urging people to be aware of the additional fire risks that so much time at home can bring, and to take steps to protect themselves and their families. There is no excuse not to have working smoke alarms which are tested regularly. We also ask that you take extra care in the kitchen, especially if you have young children around - and if you are enjoying a drink, consider getting a takeaway delivered instead of making something yourself."

Fire Engine side 4 (Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue)
It's business as usual for our local fire service, but they're asking us to help them by staying safe in our homes

WHAT ABOUT OUTSIDE? 

As we are still allowed to go outside for daily exercise, we're asked to maintain social distancing and keep ourselves safe.

Some public services like garden waste collections have been suspended and local household waste recycling centres have been closed, which might prompt some people to get rid of the rubbish with a bonfire.

The service has seen an increase in calls for those kinds of fires getting out of control.

DWFRS Area Manager Ian Jeary said: 

"During these unprecedented times, the statement from the Government is a simple one - 'Stay Home, Save Lives'. Where you do go out for your daily exercise, please consider how you are using the outdoor space. The same applies in your garden, we are asking the public to seriously consider if they need to have a bonfire or barbecue. These can get out of control very easily."

Bonfire
We're asked to avoid bonfires if possible - but maintain safety if we are having one

Here's their advice: 

  • Site bonfires well away from buildings, fences, trees and garden structures
  • Have a garden hose to hand in case the fire starts to get out of control
  • Never use flammable liquids such as petrol or paraffin to start a bonfire
  • If you're intending to have a bonfire, please advise Fire Control by using the form on our website - the Service often receives emergency calls from people who can see lots of smoke, and it helps to know where this could be a controlled burn

BUSINESS AS USUAL

DWFRS say they're 'working hard to maintain' their normal service at this time.

But that does mean some of their community work might be done in a different way 'to protect the vulnerable'.

Things like Safe and Well checks will be done over the phone instead of home visits, for example.

If you need any support from DWFRS, you can call them on 0800 038 2323 or visit the website for more fire safety advice.

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