Stay warm safely this winter
In the last three and a half years (April 2018 – October 2021), Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service attended 150 incidents involving heaters, fires and other heating equipment. As a result of the 150 incidents, 44 people sustained injuries.
Our 'Stay warm safely this winter' campaign aims to reduce the number of heating related incidents, injuries and fatalities, especially during the colder months when we see a spike in incidents.
Make sure you stay warm safely this winter, by following our fire safety advice below.
Keep your distance
- Never sit too close to fires or heaters – your clothing or chair could catch fire. Sit at least 1 metre / 3 feet away.
- Keep fires and heaters at least 1 metre / 3 feet away from curtains and furniture.
- Never dry clothes or laundry on fires or heaters.
- Use a fireguard, particularly if you have an open fire or if you have children or pets in the home.
Get it checked
- Make sure fires and heaters are in good working order and are serviced regularly. Make sure they are clean before use.
- Never install, repair or service appliances yourself. Make sure anyone who does is registered with the Gas Safe Register (for gas appliances), the Heating Equipment Testing and Approval Scheme (HETAS) (for solid fuel appliances), or the Oil Firing Technical Association (OFTEC) (for oil appliances).
- Don't take risks with old heaters – if it's electrical and getting older, get it tested by a qualified electrician or buy a new one.
- Check that your heater isn't on a recall list.
Don’t forget to…
- Switch fires and heaters off, or put them out, before bed or leaving your home.
- Where appropriate, secure heaters against a wall to stop them falling over, or fit wall-mounted heaters.
- Store fuel such as logs, kindling and briquettes away from heat/ignition sources. If stored outdoors, store away from your main property.
- Keep oxygen equipment away from fires, heaters and naked flames.
- Fit a carbon monoxide alarm in all rooms containing solid fuel, gas or paraffin heaters.
- Fit smoke alarms on every level of your home and test them weekly.
Additional advice for portable heater safety:
- Never power a heater from an extension lead – they can easily be overloaded and cause fires.
- Put your heater on a level surface, well away from anything that could knock it over.
- Never leave your heater unattended whilst in use or while you are asleep.
- Before attempting to move your heater, turn it off and allow it to cool first.
Additional information for gas fires and biofuel fires:
- Gas heater cylinders should be changed in the open air. If you have to change them indoors make sure all rooms are ventilated, open the windows and doors.
- Store spare propane cylinders upright and outside whenever possible. Never store them in basements, under stairs or in cupboards containing electric meters or equipment.
- Ensure empty cylinders are collected regularly.
- Fireboxes and containers should always be placed on a stable surface.
- When using biofuel always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and instructions.
- Don’t overstock fuels of any type, including paraffin or biofuel, and store them safely.
- Never add fuel to a burning fire or refill a firebox fuel container that is still hot.
Where to seek advice about affordable warmth
- Contact your energy supplier - they might be able to change your tariff or give you advice on how to keep fuel bills low.
- Visit Citizen’s Advice Bureau website or phone 0800 144 8848.
- Contact Local Energy Advice Programme (LEAP) (0800 060 7567), which is a free service provided by AgilityEco alongside partner organisations, that is helping people keep warm and reduce their energy bills without costing them any money. In Greater Manchester, LEAP is being delivered in Bury, Manchester, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford and Wigan.