Winter fire safety

The clocks have changed, temperatures have dropped and the dark nights have closed in. With this comes greater fire risks, as people start using electric heaters, light candles and cook more hot food. Please follow our advice to keep safe this winter.

Take time over the winter months to check on older relatives and neighbours, as they are at greater risk from fire.

Smoke alarms

It’s always important to have working smoke alarms in your home. Test them once a week, or ask someone to test them for you. Only remove batteries when replacing them. Visit the smoke alarms page for more information.

Bedtime routines and escape planning

During the festive season, it’s a good time to remind your family and guests about your fire safety bedtime routine and escape plan. Everybody in the household needs to know where the keys are and how to get out safely. Remember not to block escape routes with Christmas trees, presents or rubbish and to close all doors when going to bed. Visit the escape plan page for more information.

Keeping warm

During the winter months we all need to keep warm at home. As the nights get colder, some of us may be more likely to use open fires or portable heaters. Make sure you heat your home safely. If you have an open fire, keep chimneys and flues clean and well maintained. National Association of Chimney Sweeps can help you find a chimney sweep near you. Visit the heating and fire page for more information about keeping warm safely.

Carbon monoxide

Be aware of the dangers of carbon monoxide from appliances such as those used for cooking and heating. Visit the carbon monoxide page for more information.

Electric blanket

You may choose to use an electric blanket for extra warmth. When buying your electric blanket you should get it from a reliable source and check that it has a UK safety standard mark. This symbol means the blanket has been independently tested and meets the latest UK and European safety standards.

Before using, check that your electric blanket is not older than 10 years old, is not damaged, damp or frayed and does not have scorch marks or loose connections. It should never be creased or folded, or used by people who are incontinent.

Festive lights

Check your seasonal electrical decorations, including lights, are in good condition and have a British Safety Standard sign. Turn them off before you go out or go to sleep. Watch the video to see how faulty Christmas tree lights can cause a fire.

For general electrical safety advice, visit the electrical equipment page.

Candles

Whether you're using your candles to scent and decorate or as a religious symbol, these popular home accessories can be dangerous. Never place candles near your Christmas tree or by materials that can catch light easily. Reduce your risk of causing a fire by visiting the candle safety page.

Smoking

Smoking is the top cause of accidental fire deaths. Visit the smoking safety page for fire safety advice and information on quitting and smoke free homes.

Celebrating

The festive season is a time when many of us enjoy celebrating with family and friends. Celebrations often include decorations, alcohol, overnight guests, cooking and indulgence, so take extra care to stay safe from fire.

  • if you're planning on setting off fireworks, store them safely before use and always follow the firework safety code
  • decorations can burn easily so keep them away from fires, heaters and candles
  • keep all matches and lighters out of sight and reach of children
  • visit the safety in the kitchen page for advice on fire safety while cooking
  • alcohol features in the profile of almost 50% of the people who lost their lives in fires in Greater Manchester over the last 11 years. Don't cook under the influence of alcohol and take extra care if smoking or burning candles. You can download our alcohol and fire safety leaflet on the Safe4Winter toolkit page or visit the Alcohol Change UK website or Drinkaware website for help and advice about alcohol
  • If you have visitors staying over, make sure they know how to respond in the event of a fire, have access to the door key and know how to unlock the door

Advice for carers

If you are caring for someone it's important to think about their fire safety at home. Talk to the person you care for about the winter fire safety information on this page and support them to put it into practice, if they are unable to do this independently. It's vital that care plans identify risks relating to fire safety and put in place processes to ensure the safety of the individual. Visit the advice for carers page for more information.

Safe and Well

Visit the Safe and Well page for more information or phone 0800 555 815 to book your free visit.

For more safety advice and information

Firework safety advice

Fire safety at home