Changes to the cost of living, and with colder weather during the winter months, present many challenges. We anticipate people may look at alternative ways of heating and lighting their homes. These changing behaviours could see a rise in accidental fires and carbon monoxide poisoning.
To raise awareness and to help keep people safe, we are providing extra advice around staying safe at home.
Here you will find information about potential hazards as well as guidance for the safe use of portable heaters, electric blankets, wood burning stoves, candles and chimneys. All can be a potential fire risk if they're not looked after properly.
Our safety advice includes:
- Never use camping stoves and barbeques indoors
- Always use the correct fuel in a wood burning stove and in open fires.
- Do not use a chimney that has not been checked for blockages
- Use candles safely or ideally use LED lights/torches instead
- If you are using an old or unfamiliar heater, get it checked for safety first
Stay Fire Safe
Cost of Living series: advice from the SFRS on how to Stay Fire Safe while keeping warm
Glasgow City Parents Group partnered with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service to present useful advice and information about home safety.
The series of webinars to support parents and carers navigate the Cost of Living Crisis.
Advice on how to stay fire safe while keeping warm
We want to help you stay safe, warm and well in winter. We know the pressures that many people are facing to stay warm and well while keeping energy bills as low as possible. Cold, damp homes can be damaging to health.
How to cut your bill without sacrificing comfort.
- Set the central heating to switch off 30 minutes before you leave the house;
- With storage heaters, it is important to close the damper or output dial (sometimes called the boost) before going to bed or if the house is unoccupied during the day;
- If you have a hot water tank or cylinder, it should have at least 8cm (3 inches) of insulation;
- Fit a thermostat on your hot water tank if it doesn’t have one. This should be set at 60-65°C (140°F);
- Only switch the hot water on when you need it;
- Heavy curtains can help keep heat in;
- Use low energy light bulbs;
- Don’t leave appliances on standby, switch them off at the wall;
- Turn off radiators in rooms not in use;
- Use the ‘economy’ programme on your washing machine and wash a full load when possible;
- Only fill the kettle with as much water as you need;
- A slow cooker or microwave is cheaper.
Meter cheating is not a victimless crime. Every year 280 people in the UK are killed or injured due to the consequences of energy theft. The first signs can be shocks from switches and burns from appliances. When gas leaks because of a tampered gas meter, all it takes is one spark – perhaps from a light switch, a cigarette, or an electrical charger – to cause a fire or explosion
Visit Stay Energy Safe for more information.
Priority Services Register
Scotland’s energy network is maintained by two organisations. Both organisations offer extra support to those people who need it through a Priority Services Register so that they can contact vulnerable customers if they do experience a power interruption.
You can join the Priority Services Register if you:
- Are over the age of 60;
- Have a special communication need;
- Depend on electricity for home or medical care;
- Have a child under 5 years of age;
- Have chronic illness;
- Or just feel you need a little extra help.
If you are on the register your energy network will try to contact you if they know of a problem in your area. To find out more and register:
Telephone: 0800 294 3259
Central and Southern Scotland:
Telephone: 0330 10 10 167
Or text PSR to 61999
Financial Advice and Support
Below you can find a series of organisations who can advise additional means of financial support:
- Home Energy Scotland (0808 808 2282)
- Home Heating Support Fund - Scottish Government
- Citizens Advice Scotland (0800 028 1456)
- Guidance Cost of Living Payment - UK Government
- Energy Advice | Energy Advice | energyadvice.scot
- British Gas Energy Support Fund
- Benefits Calculator - entitledto
- Fighting UK Poverty - Turn2us
Many people are looking at new ways to cook and warm their homes. Heating and cooking appliances fuelled by gas, coal, smokeless fuels, wood or oil can cause CO poisoning. The invisible odourless gas can be fatal, so it's important to be aware of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning. Symptoms include:
- stomach pain
- shortness of breath
- difficulty breathing
Make the Call
We also remind you of our Make the Call campaign and to look out for others. If you know someone who is over 50 and smokes, and who has either mobility issues or uses medical oxygen or lives alone, you can arrange a Home Fire Safety Visit on their behalf.
If you know of someone who needs a Home Fire Safety Visit get in touch by calling 0800 0731 999. Or text FIRE to 80800. Help to support those who are most at risk of fire.
Additional Safety Advice
We want to ensure people are aware of potential dangers and keep themselves and their loved ones safe at home. The following pages give further safety advice.
- Home Fire Safety
- Online Home Safety Checker
- Candle Safety
- Electrical Safety
- Chimney Safety
- Heating and Gas Safety
- Kitchen Safety
- Carbon Monoxide
- Winter Safety
- Power Cuts
- Make the Call
- Bed Time Checks
- Festive Safety
Your local council may also provide additional advice in detail with the cost of living.