STORM GERTRUDE, the next winter storm to affect Scotland, is forecast to bring wet, windy and wintry weather to communities across the country tomorrow and Scottish Fire and Rescue Service is urging people to stay safe.
The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) has already been involved in emergency responses, along with other partner agencies at flooding and water rescue incidents in the Borders and in Dumfries and Galloway over the past two days.
The Met Office has issued amber "be prepared" and yellow "be aware" warnings for Scotland with an amber warning for high winds in place from 3.00am until 10.00am on Friday. Heavy rain throughout Friday is expected to be followed by icy and wintry conditions into Saturday.
SFRS will continue to monitor the situation across Scotland as the effects of Storm Gertrude begin to be felt. Resources are in place to support local communities using specialist equipment to prevent and reduce the impact of flooding on domestic and commercial properties and ultimately keep them safe and allow them to prepare for the expected weather over the next 24 hours.
In addition to the already present strong winds and rain in some areas of the country, forecasters are also predicting wintry weather, including snow and ice. During this period of unsettled weather, people are advised to stay up to date with the latest Met Office forecasts and National Severe Weather Warnings and find out what to do in severe weather so they can plan ahead for the weather in store.
The main risks normally associated with weather patterns such as this are flooding and loss of power due to the wind and rain. As a result the public may find themselves in a situation where their homes are affected. The Fire Service would like to remind anyone who finds themselves without power or water entering the home that they can take a few simple steps to ensure, they are not placed in any additional risk from fire.
When using candles never leave them unattended and make sure you blow them out when you leave the house or go to bed. Make sure that when in use, candles are secured in a proper holder and away from materials that may catch fire – like curtains, Christmas trees, decorations and toys.
Other tips include:
- Children and pets should not be left alone with lit candles
- Put candles out when you leave the room, and make sure they’re put out completely at night.
- Trim the wick to ¼ inch each time before burning. Long or crooked wicks can cause uneven burning, dripping or flaring.
- Don’t move candles once they are lit
- Follow the manufacturer's recommendations on burn time and proper use.
- Do not burn several candles close together as this might cause flaring (mainly with tea-lights).
- Always make sure tea-lights are placed in a proper holder. The foil container which tea lights come in can get very hot. They can melt through plastic, such as a bath, and have the potential to start a house fire.
- Use a snuffer or a spoon to put out candles. It’s safer than blowing them out when embers can fly.
The public can get further information on safety when using candles by using the link below:
If your home suffers a loss of power or is flooded and you are using portable heaters to heat or dry out your home here are some simple tips to keep you safe:
- Keep heaters away from curtains and furniture and never use them for drying clothes.
- Unplug or switch off portable heaters when you go out or go to bed.
- Secure portable heaters in position to avoid the risk of them being knocked over
- Only use gas or paraffin heaters in well-ventilated areas. Heaters consume oxygen and in enclosed spaces can produce harmful gases and/or cause carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Fit a Carbon Monoxide detector in all rooms containing gas or paraffin heaters.
- Never use portable gas cylinder heaters in high rise flats
- Always change gas cylinders in the open air. Never change gas cylinders in an enclosed space.
If you or someone you know is vulnerable or may be at risk from fire please get in touch and arrange a FREE home fire safety visit with local firefighters by calling 0800 0731 999 or visit www.firescotland.gov.uk
A wide range of tips on how to keep yourself and your home safe from fire are available on the SFRS website: www.firescotland.gov.uk/winter
MET OFFICE WARNINGS - http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/guide/weather/severe-weather-advice
TRAFFIC SCOTLAND: http://trafficscotland.org/
TRAVELLINE - http://www.travelinescotland.com/welcome.do
SEPA (Scottish Environment Protection Agency) - http://www.sepa.org.uk/
READY SCOTLAND - http://www.readyscotland.org/are-you-ready/severe-weather/