Does your electric kettle cosy up to the toaster and microwave on an extension lead?
Do you leave your mobile phone and other devices charging overnight? Or the telly on standby?
If the answer to any or all of these questions is yes – you didn’t attend N-Vision’s sight loss support group summit with Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service.
Specialist fire safety officers Brendan Holt and Will Magowan highlighted everyday hazards that could lead to fire – and fires can lead to tragedy.
While some of the advice was specifically aimed at blind and visually impaired people attending the sight loss support group run by Blackpool Fylde and Wyre Society for the Blind there were lessons for all.
Community fire safety practitioner Brendan warned: “You may know your way around your home under normal circumstances but a fire’s a very different matter – it’s disorientating and dangerous.
“Keeping stairs, landings and hallways clear buys you time.”
He advised those who struggled with house keys to invest in thumb turn locks. “These can be locked and unlocked from the inside without the use of a key – you’ll still need a key to enter from outside.
“The emphasis is on getting out fast without compromising security. This kind of lock is ideal in case of fires and emergencies for those who may struggle with keys.
“Always know where your door keys are – keep them handy, hang them up in the hall near the door but away from your letterbox.”
Charging devices overnight or leaving washing machines, dish washers and tumble dryers running overnight were definite DON’TS from Brendan and fire safety inspector Will.
DO’s included closing all doors – particularly before going to bed. “A closed door will give you up to 10 minutes of fire resistance. Closed doors protect your staircase if you’re upstairs.
“Remember everything in your house is replaceable – apart from you.”
The pair also advised against using halogen heaters. “They can be unstable and get knocked over. Older people also tend to feel the cold more so sit closer to heaters and risk grilling themselves because they can’t feel how hot it is. Oil filled radiators are safer. They also retain heat for two hours after the heating has been switched off.”
The team handed out glow in the dark key rings and other items detailing fire safety contact numbers and also showed the group some electrical items which had burned out because EIGHTY amps had been coming through the socket.
“Look at what your devices add up to in total – it shouldn’t be more than 13 amps. A good rule is plug anything, that heats anything up, directly into the wall socket – such as a kettle or toaster or microwave or dish washer or washing machine or tumble dryer. Do not plug them all into an extension lead. Reduce the risk of electrical fires.
“Get your appliances serviced annually – as you would your car. And check your alarms, your detectors, at least once a month, ideally once a week.’