Safety advice about portable heaters during cold weather

A typical portable heater.
A typical portable heater.
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Freezing residents of Gainsborough have been alerted to the dangers of portable heaters during cold weather.

With plunging temperatures and even ‘thundersnow’ forecast to hit the town this month, Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue Service has issued a safety message for people planning to use a heater alongside their usual central heating or fire. And its advice is: keep them at least one metre away from you at all times.

“One of the most common ways to stay warm in the home is to use a portable heater, but we need to remind people how to stay safe and be aware of the potential risks of using them,” said John Barke, the service’s deputy community fire safety manager.

“Portable heaters provide a quick and easy solution to heating in the home, and we know it’s tempting to sit with the heater close to your legs, especially when it is very cold. But this can be extremely dangerous and may cause clothes to ignite.

“We’re urging everyone who uses them to keep them at a safe distance of one metre away, so they don’t put themselves or their loved ones at risk.

“We want people to stay warm and well this winter, but our main priority is to ensure that they stay safe.”

The fire and rescue service also advises keeping heaters at least one metre away from chairs, armchairs, furniture and curtains, and well away from anything that could knock them over.

They should never be left on when you’re asleep and should never be used to dry clothes. Make sure you constantly monitor your heater when it is on, and place them on a level, hard and non-flammable surface. Keep them off rugs or carpets.

If you need more advice or assistance, please ring 0845 6064566.