The arrival of winter and the festive season brings added fire and security risks at home and work. Chubb Fire & Security wants to help keep families, their homes and belongings safe and secure. Chubb is part of Carrier, a global provider of innovative heating, ventilating, air conditioning (HVAC), refrigeration, fire, security and building automation technologies.

According to Fire & rescue incident statistics: England, year ending June 2019, there were 268 fire-related fatalities from accidental dwelling fires in England between July 2018 and June 2019, representing an increase of 6% in fire-related fatalities over the previous year. Incidents were also much higher in this period, with the Fire and Rescue Services attending 14% more fires.

overall theft offences

It is vital that homeowners, their friends and families remain vigilant and avoid unnecessary risks

The Office for National Statistics reported over 687,000 domestic burglaries between July 2018 and June 2019, up 7% on the same period to June 2018. The report also shows there is an emerging rise in overall theft offences. It is, therefore, vital that homeowners, their friends and families remain vigilant and avoid unnecessary risks when it comes to their safety at home – and no more so than during the festive and holiday season.

Here are ten tips for staying safe over the festive period:

  • Going away? Do not post on social media about your travel plans and install a timer to switch lights on and off so the house appears to be occupied. Ask to redirect your post, cancel any newspaper and milk deliveries, and ask your neighbours to take away any packages.

motion-activated exterior light

  • Do not keep keys in a place visible from the outside, such as hanging on hooks. In addition, do not hide keys near a door, such as under the doormat, as thieves know where to check.
  • Install a motion-activated exterior light to welcome you home after dark – and also deter unwanted visitors. You could consider connecting your home using a smart system such as Hive, to turn your lights on before you come home or to fit video doorbells to monitor visitors whilst you are away.
  • Outside, be aware of your surroundings, lock your car and take care of high-value belongings like mobile phones, which have become a popular target for thieves.
  • Fit a smoke alarm. Regularly test your smoke alarm and change the batteries at least once a year. Also, keep a fire blanket or suitable extinguisher handy in the kitchen.

regularly serviced and maintained

  • Don’t place your Christmas tree by a log-fire, radiator or heater. Turn all Christmas tree lights off before going to bed.
  • In case of a fire, have an escape plan. Make sure you have more than one escape route should your exit become blocked.
  • If using an electric blanket, make sure the cord isn’t frayed or worn before plugging it in. Never leave it on and unsupervised for longer than 15 minutes.
  • Never leave fires, candles or any form of exposed flame in the home unattended, and ensure children are always supervised when around fires, candles or matches.
  • If using gas-, oil- or coal-burning appliances, use a carbon monoxide (CO) alarm to be quickly alerted to CO dangers. Ensure the home is properly ventilated and equipment is regularly serviced and maintained.

fire and security experts

“Over this winter and the festive period, we hope that these guidelines from our fire and security experts will help people to stay safe. It is concerning that both fire and theft incidents are on the rise in the UK, which should serve as a reminder of the importance of safety measures in and around the household,” said Mark Pettit, UK strategy director for Chubb Fire & Security.

“We urge everyone to be particularly mindful of the heightened fire risks over the festive period, where the use of candles and log fires is commonplace,” Pettit added. “Installing a fire or smoke alarm is one of the easiest measures to prevent a potentially devastating incident from taking place.”

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