Fire Warning for Portable Heaters

A campaign to alert vulnerable householders about fire hazards from portable heaters has been launched countywide by Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service.

To offset rising heating bills, some people are switching off their central heating and carrying portable heaters from room to room which can prove dangerous, say the brigade’s Community Fire Safety Officers.

In more extreme incidents in Shropshire, elderly and vulnerable householders have balanced old fashioned electric bar heaters precariously on top of newspapers and phone books creating a fire hazard.

The county’s fire and rescue service is working with housing officers from Shropshire Housing Group to help spread the word about the danger.

“We have identified that more people are using portable heaters to heat single rooms as fuel costs rise and they just need to take extra precautions to ensure they are safe,” said Sam Hamer, community fire safety officer with Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service.

“January is normally the coldest month of the year so we do expect more people to use portable heaters.”

Fires are caused by negligent use of equipment or supply, faulty heating devices, overheating, and combustibles being placed too near a heat source.

“Fire in the home is a devastating experience for anyone and can cause death or serious injury,” said Sam.

“We are targeting the sheltered housing scheme with the help of Shropshire Housing Group to talk to people about how they can avoid such fires in their homes. There are many steps you can take to prevent a fire from happening in the first place including ensuring you have a smoke alarm which works.”

Ann Sutcliffe, executive director for neighbourhoods at Shropshire Housing Group, said: "There is no issue more important than the safety and welfare of our tenants and when there is an opportunity to help ensure their wellbeing through simple advice and education, we are more than happy to be involved.


“We hope the advice from this excellent initiative by Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service reaches as many people as possible, both directly and through the resulting word of mouth. Certainly the response from our tenants has been very positive."


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