Wrapping up household risks for Christmas

Knowing you’ve taken care to minimise risks in your home will put your mind at ease, letting you relax and enjoy the festive period. It’s the small things that can make the biggest difference – like fitting new batteries in your smoke alarm!


Fires and heaters

• For open fires, check the hearth, floor and furnishings for sparks or embers and get your chimney swept every year. Also, use a fireguard and don’t overload the grate or bank the fire too high.

• For gas or electric fires, make sure you switch off at the socket before bedtime, and have your gas fires, boilers and central heating checked annually.

Smoke and gas

  • Buy and fit a smoke detector and carbon monoxide alarm. You may get these free if you’re on your energy supplier’s Priority Services Register.
  • Don’t plug up air vents to cut down on draughts – this may cause a build up of carbon monoxide.

Nightwear & electric blankets

  • Make sure you have enough bedding and try to keep your bedroom at a comfortably warm temperature – between 21-23°C is best.
  • In case of a power cut during the night, keep a torch by your bed and a hot drink in a flask should you awake.
  • Wear warm night clothes and/or thermals and socks in bed. Use a hot water bottle or an electric blanket. If your electric blanket is not new, have it checked. Your local Fire department can tell you how.
  • Replace your electric blanket if it is over 5 years old.

If you smell gas, phone the National Grid on 0800 111 999.

The information in this post was taken from our Hot Tips 2013 calendar.  To request Hot Tips 2014 – free for older people in Scotland – please email us.  Next year’s calendar includes contributions from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.

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