Welcome from the Chief
Don’t forget your cooking
Cooking is the main cause of house fires in North Wales – it’s important therefore that you never leave cooking unattended. Avoid cooking while under the influence of alcohol and always turn off kitchen appliances when finished with them. It may sound obvious advice but you would be surprised how many incidents we attend where this has resulted in lives being put at risk.
In July we attended an incident in Caernarfon where a resident suffered smoke inhalation after leaving cooking left unattended in their flat – unfortunately this is the kind of incident which happens all too often. It is so easy to forget your cooking, especially if you are tired, distracted or have been drinking. However, the consequences can be devastating.
Never leave candles burning
The naked flame of a candle poses an obvious risk. The best way of reducing this risk is not to use candles in the first place - but if you do decide to use them, never leave them burning unattended. Keep them in a secure holder, out of the reach of children and away from flammable material such as curtains or soft furnishings.
Put out your cigarette
If you’re a smoker, put your cigarette out - right out. Make sure cigarettes are fully extinguished and take care when drinking alcohol or if you are tired. It's easy to fall asleep while a cigarette is still burning and to set furniture alight.
In October, two dogs sadly died and a woman had a lucky escape from a fire in a house off Kinmel Way, Towyn. The fire is thought to have been started by a carelessly discarded cigarette.
E-cigarettes also carry their own dangers - they use a rechargeable battery to power the vaporiser and these batteries require recharging on a regular basis. I would advise you only ever purchase these products from a reputable source and only use the battery and charger provided with the e-cigarette when charging. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions, and turn off and unplug them before you go to bed. Never leave items on charge or unattended for long periods as e-cigarettes are known to overheat when charging.
Get switched on to electrical safety
Many of the fires we attend in North Wales are electrical – to prevent such a fire you should avoid overloading sockets and ensure you only use one plug per socket. Always turn off plugs when they are not in use, except those that are designed to be left on, like freezers.
Electricity is often overlooked as a fire hazard, perhaps because there is no flame, but this doesn't mean there is no risk – never underestimate the risk of fire from electricity.
In November last year, to coincide with Electrical Fire Safety Week, we launched our a white goods safety campaign in Wales, highlighting how half of all accidental house fires are caused by electricity.
Tumble dryers have accounted for 57% of all fires involving white goods in Wales over the last three years. The consequences of a tumble dryer fire can be devastating, as experienced by a young family in Llandudno in September this year. Luckily the residents, a mother and her five children aged between 9 and 16 , had noticed the smoke and were able to escape from the incident unharmed. The family were temporarily rehoused as the fire and left the kitchen badly damaged, with smoke damage extending to most of the remainder of the property. But their loss could have been immeasurably worse as the fire took hold at around 10.30pm - the family could easily have been in bed at the time and the fire could have been life threatening.
What to do if there is a fire
I hope you never experience a fire in your home - but it’s vital that you know what to do in the event of a fire occurring.
Practice your escape route so you can safely get out, stay out and call 999.
My very best wishes for a safe and happy 2019.