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Cost of living

Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service wants to help everyone save money safely when trying to cut costs in response to the rising cost of living this winter, and is urging people to take simple steps to protect themselves from accidental fires and carbon monoxide poisoning. 

If you're thinking about implementing changes at home to bring down the price of energy bills, it's important to remember do so safely. This can include thinking about the hazards that come with changing your usual routine.  

To help keep safe Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service is encouraging people to complete an online home fire safety check for themselves or their loved ones.  

Smoke alarms

Whether you’re changing things up or not, the most important thing to do is to fit a working smoke alarm on each floor of your property so you’re alerted quickly in the event of a fire.

If you are able to only heat one room, and are using that for both living and sleeping, consider if you can hear alarms so you can be alerted to a fire or dangerous levels of carbon monoxide when asleep. 

Please click on this link to find more information about the use of smoke alarms.

Carbon monoxide

Carbon monoxide can be given off by any appliance that burns fuels such as gas, coal oil. It can enter a room if your appliance is faulty, the room is not properly ventilated, or the chimney or flue is blocked.

Make sure to install a carbon monoxide alarm, it’s the only way to detect this harmful, colourless, odourless gas which can be fatal.

Have your appliances properly installed and regularly maintained to ensure they are safe.

If you have a gas appliance, make sure it serviced by an engineer who is a member of the Gas Safe Register.

Make sure your home is well ventilated, never block vents and remember to clean and sweep your chimney and flue regularly.

When buying a carbon monoxide alarm, make sure to get it from a reputable outlet such as a DIY store.

Electric blankets

Try not to buy second-hand blankets but if you do check them regularly for damage and check they are not part of a product recall.

Make sure it has safety features including an automatic switch-off at a certain temperature or after a time limit. 

Please click on this link to find more information about the use of electric blankets

Portable heaters

Before using old equipment check devices are suitable for use and in a good working order. Check that your heater is not subject to a product recall or repair.  

Please click on this link to find more information about the use of portable heaters.

Where possible, plug electric heaters into a wall socket. If using an extension lead, it’s important to make sure you don’t overload sockets. Try out the ‘Socket Overload Calculator’ to see if you’re using electricity safely.

Open fire, stove and chimney safety

Ensure you burn the correct fuel in open fires and wood-burning stoves. Burning other materials can cause toxic fumes in your home and can increase the risk of chimney fires and carbon monoxide poisoning.  

Always use a fire guard on an open fireplace to protect against sparks from hot embers, even if you think the fire has died out. 

Avoid drying clothes in front of an open fire as this is a big fire risk. If you need to dry clothes inside, make sure they are placed well away from the hear to reduce the fire risk. 

Please click on this link to find more information about the use of open fire, stove and chimney safety.

Outdoor cooking/heating equipment

You must only use heating and cooking equipment that is designed for indoor use within your home! Outdoor heaters must not be used indoors. They can produce a lot of heat which would be a fire risk in the confined space of a house, but they also produce carbon monoxide which can be fatal. 

Please click on this link to find more information about the use of outdoor cooking/heating equipment.

More patio heater safety information can also be found on Electrical Safety First’s website.

Boiler safety

Don’t put off getting your boiler looked at if it needs a service, or if you think there is a problem with it – while it will cost money, your safety is worth every penny.

The Gas Distribution Network offer free services to help those who need it.

Please click on this link to find more information about boiler safety.

Candle safety

The safest option is to use battery-operated candles if you're thinking of this as an alternative to lighting your home as this can help reduce the risk of candle fire.

If you must use traditional candles, remember this means introducing a naked flame into your home so it is crucial that they are seen as a hazard and used appropriately. 

Please click on this link to find more information about candle safety.

When to use electricity 

If your home is on a ‘time of use’ tariff, avoid running white goods and charging devices when you are out or asleep. If a fire happens you will have less time to react and escape safely. 

For most people electricity costs the same no matter what time of day or night you use it.

Tumble dryer lint filters also need to be cleaned weekly and vacuumed monthly, to reduce the risk of fire. 

You can find more tumble dryer safety advice on our fire prevention page.

Help when it's needed 

If you are struggling to stay warm at home there are a number of warm spaces available around the county - places you can go to that are warm and welcoming. 

For further support with the cost of living crisis and links to warm spaces in your area, visit Derbyshire county councils cost of living page. Here you can sign up to the newsletter for the latest information, tips, links and vouchers that may be available to you.

The government also have some top tips on saving energy in the home. Check out all the ways to save money safely. 

There are food banks available to those in need in both Derbyshire and Derby city, please follow the links to get the support you need. 

Or click here to read Cost of living tips: Your personalised guide to saving money recently published by the BBC.

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