Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service's Chief Fire Officer, Andrew Hopkinson, urges people to 'Stay Fire Safe' this winter

Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service’s (BFRS) Chief Fire Officer (CFO) is urging people to take simple steps to protect themselves from accidental fires and carbon monoxide poisoning as they look to keep warm and cut energy use this winter.

It is crucial people ensure they have working smoke alarms – at least one on each level of the home.

Where you have a heating appliance that doesn’t run off electricity, we recommend installing a carbon monoxide alarm – it’s the only way to detect this harmful, colourless, odourless gas which can be fatal.

Check alarms are working by pushing the test button at least once a week.

As many people look to reduce heating bills, Bedfordshire fire and service wants to ensure people are keeping warm safely. Products such as portable heaters and electric blankets must be in good working order, not subject to any recalls and used correctly.

In addition, it’s important that where people are able to only heat one room and are using that for both living and sleeping they can clearly hear alarms so they can be alerted to a fire or dangerous levels of carbon monoxide when asleep.

Changes to regulations now mean landlords must fit smoke alarms in all homes and carbon monoxide alarms where there is fixed combustion heating appliance in rented accommodation. We advise tenants to ensure their landlord is complying to help keep them safe.

Ensure any new electrical produces are from reputable retailers – and to register them with the manufacture or via for national product safety alerts and recalls.

Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service is encouraging people to complete a home fire safety visit. They are designed to help protect communities by providing safety advice to those most at risk. Each visit includes fire safety advice and additional guidance on health, wellbeing and crime prevention. If hazards or risks are identified during the visit, the Service can make a referral to appropriate partner agencies for further help and support.

Chief Fire Officer, Andrew Hopkinson said, “It’s really important that we all cope safely with the rise in the cost of living we don’t put ourselves or our loved ones at risk.

We just wanted to remind people to buy, charge and run electrical products and white goods safely and ensure they keep warm safely.”

To help keep you safe

  • Check any heating appliances are in good working order and not subject to a product recall by checking the Office for Product Safety and Standards website for any alerts or recalls
  • Ensure flammable items such as furniture and drying clothes are placed well away from heaters and fires
  • Ensure you use the correct fuel for woodburning stoves and open fires – to reduce the risk of toxic fumes, chimney fires and carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Check your escape routes, make sure they are clear from clutter and items such as portable heaters are not blocking them.
  • If possible don’t skip servicing of boilers and gas appliances by a Gas Safe engineer to prevent gas leaks and CO poisoning. Landlords must arrange for an annual gas safety check in rented accommodation. If you’re a homeowner check your energy provider’s website for information about their Priority Services Register – if you’re eligible they often offer a free annual gas safety check along with other support.