Posted: Wednesday 18 March 2020, 15:38
Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service (DFRS) is calling for people to take extra care as they begin to spend a prolonged period of time in their homes during the Covid-19 pandemic.
In line with current Government advice, the Service is focusing its operational response on 999 emergency incidents only and is withdrawing from all non-essential community engagement activity used to educate and inform people about keeping safe.
DFRS wants to ensure people continue to understand the risks of fire and that everyone knows how to keep safe in their homes. It is therefore asking people to follow its top safety tips:
- Ensure you have a smoke alarm fitted on every level of your home and test it weekly
- Never remove the batteries from your smoke alarm
- Have a pre-planned and practised escape plan and ensure everyone knows what to do in the event of a fire. Get Out, Stay Out and Call 999
- Have a bedtime routine. Check electrics are switched off (where possible), ensure candles and cigarettes are out - right out, ensure you know where your mobile phone and house keys are and ensure all exits are clear of clutter
- Ensure you don’t overload plugs sockets
- Switch all electrical items off when not in use
- Do not leave electrical items charging overnight
- Ensure you always use the correct charger for all electrical items
- Watch out for signs of worn electrical cables
- Do not leave washing machines, tumble dryers or dish washers on overnight
- Do not leave laptops charging on your bed/duvet – they overheat and can easily catch fire
- Ensure you never leave cooking unattended
- Never cook after consuming alcohol – it’s easy to fall asleep and leave the cooking to burn
- Ensure you switch the cooker off after use
- Don’t wear loose clothing when cooking – it can easily catch fire
- Keep flammable materials such as tea towels away from the hob
- Never smoke in bed
- Ensure you use a fire proof ash tray
- Ensure your ash tray is kept on a firm, stable surface
- Ensure you put your cigarette out, right out
Derbyshire’s Chief Fire Officer/Chief Executive Gavin Tomlinson said: “We are living through an unprecedented time in light of the Covid-19 virus and this is leading to the population being told to avoid all non-essential social contact. This means more and more people are starting to work from home, with many more self-isolating in order to keep safe. We want everyone to be safe, not only from the virus, but also from the risk of fire.
“People can take measures to prevent a fire in the home and I call upon everyone to take a few minutes to familiarise themselves with our simple home fire safety advice.
“Rest assured that if you do have an emergency and need to call 999, Firefighters will respond. By withdrawing from non-essential community engagement activity, we have taken steps to limit the social contact our Firefighters and employees are exposed to, this will not only help prevent the spread of Covid-19, but also serve to protect frontline staff to ensure they are ready and able to respond when needed.”
The Service will continue to monitor and manage the impact of Covid-19 on our staff and communities to protect frontline services.
Mr Tomlinson went onto say: “The strategic leadership team and I, alongside our colleagues from Derbyshire Constabulary, have been monitoring and reviewing the developments of the pandemic and we will continue to do this to ensure we Keep Derbyshire Safer Together.
“Unfortunately I have had no alternative but to withdraw the fire and rescue service from all non-essential community engagement to safeguard our emergency response – this means we will only be visiting the most vulnerable members of our community where we believe there is an immediate risk of fire, and only visiting business premises where we believe there is an immediate risk to life.
“On behalf of everyone across the Service, I apologise for any inconvenience and disappointment cancelling our community engagement may cause, but I am sure people will understand we need to protect our frontline emergency response throughout this time.”
For more information on keeping safe in your home you can visit www.derbys-fire.gov.uk alternatively follow us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram where we will be continuing to post regular fire safety reminders.