Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service (RBFRS) is once again urging people to 'Take Extra Care' during industrial action by the Fire Brigades Union (FBU).
Strike action will take place today and tomorrow from 6-10pm.
The strike action will take place during times when people are likely to be making an evening meal and, as most accidental house fires start in the kitchen, RBFRS is reminding people to be particularly careful when cooking.
If you are having early Christmas celebrations at home with family or friends, take extra care when using candles and fairy lights, and if you smoke, make sure your cigarette is properly extinguished when you've finished it.
It is also very important to be careful when heating your home with electric heaters or open fires, or when using electric blankets.
If you are going out anywhere during these times, please take extra care on the roads if you are driving, particularly in fog.
Follow these simple tips to help keep yourself and your family safe:
• Never leave cooking unattended, even for a minute. If you need to leave the kitchen, take pans off the heat and turn the oven right down
• Double check the oven and hob are switched off once you’ve finished cooking
• Keep tea towels and cloths away from the oven and hob
• Make sure matches and saucepan handles are kept out of the reach of children
• Keep the oven and grill clean, as a build up of fat can easily catch fire
OPEN FIRES AND ELECTRIC HEATERS
• Use a fire guard to protect against flying sparks and hot embers from an open fire
• Keep chimneys and flues clean and well maintained
• Make sure embers are properly put out before you go out or go to bed
• Keep portable heaters away from curtains and furniture – never use them for drying clothes
• Unplug electric heaters when you go out or go to bed
• Don’t overload sockets – only use one plug per socket
• Always switch off plugs when they are not in use (unless they are designed to be left on e.g. freezers)
• Look out for signs of dangerous or loose wiring e.g. scorch marks, hot plugs and sockets
• Make sure cigarettes are properly extinguished – ‘put it out, right out’
• Take extra care when you’re tired, have been drinking or taking medication
• Never smoke in bed – you might fall asleep and never wake up
• Use a proper, heavy ashtray – not a bin
• Reduce your speed and give yourself time to react - you never know what’s just around the corner
• Keep your distance - remember the two second rule and leave plenty of space between you and the vehicle in front
• Don’t drink and drive - if you are out drinking, book a taxi, catch the bus or get a lift from a designated driver
• Don't pile up your car - store items (e.g. Christmas presents) securely as loose objects can become lethal objects when braking
In addition, RBFRS is asking people to ensure they have working smoke alarms fitted to every level of their home and to make an emergency escape plan in advance.
RBFRS has contingency plans in place and will still be responding to 999 calls, although ‘life critical’ incidents such as house fires and road traffic collisions where people are trapped will be prioritised.
People are being asked to reduce demand during the periods of industrial action by only calling 999 in a genuine emergency.
In the event of a fire, people should still get out of the house, stay out and call 999. For more fire safety advice and information on the industrial action, visit www.rbfrs.co.uk
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