Fire service offers safety advice in light of virus pandemic

South Yorkshire’s firefighters are calling on people to take extra steps to keep themselves safe from fire, following the Government’s recent announcements on social distancing.

They say that, with thousands across the county expected to either self-isolate, work from home or generally stay away from others, it’s never been more important to think about fire safety.

And despite the fact that crews are continuing to respond to 999 emergencies as normal, senior fire officers are keen to limit potentially avoidable call outs.

“We’re certainly not trying to panic anyone here – nor take away from the very important health advice – as our firefighters are continuing to respond to calls as normal,” said Group Manager Matt Gillatt, head of the joint police and fire community safety team.

“What we are doing, though, is asking people who are spending more time than normal at home to have a think about fire safety and take on board some of our advice.

“Simple steps – like making sure you’ve got working smoke alarms – can make a huge difference in terms of how safe you and your family are at home.”

The service has boiled its top tips down to four key things – based on the leading causes of accidental house fire across South Yorkshire:

  1. Don’t leave cooking unattended and stop using chip pans – oven chips are safer
  2. Don’t leave clothes/towels near heaters, hobs, or candles
  3. Make sure your electrical items are in working order and don’t use faulty white goods
  4. Make sure you have working smoke alarms and test them weekly

As part of a new ‘Keep Fire Safe’ campaign – which has been developed in light of the pandemic – fire service staff will be posting safety advice booklets, through letterboxes, to homes in certain areas across the county in the coming weeks.

The campaign will also see the launch of a poster drawing competition for kids – with schools now closed for the foreseeable future – and an online safety quiz. Both of which give entrants the chance to win prizes for their efforts.

A specific home safety web page has also been set up, dedicated to people who are self-isolating, working from home and generally social distancing, at www.syfire.gov.uk/keepfiresafe.

“We’d love to see as many people take part in these two competitions as possible. Not only will it give the kids something to do, it will open up really important conversations about fire safety,” added Matt.

“Hopefully we can put a smile on some faces, too. We’ve got prizes on offer for both kids and adults which should be reason enough for people to enter!”

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This content was last updated on March 21st, 2020