Fire Service launches its Winter Safety Campaign
The campaign, a key part of the Service's Community Safety calendar, will highlight a range of safety advice aimed at keeping people safe in their homes and on the roads, particularly in light of the seasonal dangers associated with the winter months.
H&WFRS will also be launching its own Facebook and Twitter pages to coincide with the start of the Winter Safety Campaign. It plans to use the social network sites to update residents across Herefordshire and Worcestershire about Community Safety events taking place in their area, and will post a weekly Winter Safety Warning throughout the 18 weeks of the campaign.
The Service sees a seasonal rise in the number of chimney fires it is called out to over the winter period, and so the Winter Safety Campaign will kick off with some vital advice for householders with open fires and wood burners.
The Community Safety Team will be writing to those in the two counties who have had a chimney fire at their property in the past, urging them to have their chimneys swept now in readiness for winter. H&WFRS's Chimney Fire Safety leaflet will be included with the letter, providing more detailed advice on how often chimneys should be swept and a list of registered chimney sweeps operating locally.
The Winter Safety Warning for the week on Facebook and Twitter will be 'Avoid a chimney fire – be sure to have your chimneys professionally swept before using them this winter', and there are also 'Burnt Room' events planned in Worcester (starting today in the Crowngate Shopping Centre), Redditch and Hereford to illustrate the devastating consequences of a chimney fire.
Between now and the end of January, the Winter Safety Campaign will feature advice on Electric Blankets, to include details of locally-held electric blanket safety testing events; Firework & Bonfire Safety, with planned visits to schools across the two counties; Electrical Safety, with advice on the safe use of electrical appliances and outdoor lights; plus some targeted Christmas safety messages. The Service will also be working with its local partners to promote road safety.
H&WFRS will also launch 'Test it Tuesday' via its Facebook and Twitter pages, encouraging everyone to get into the habit of testing their smoke alarms on a regular basis.
Station Commander Grant Wills, head of H&WFRS's Community Safety Team, said: "We know that targeted safety advice can help reduce both the number and the severity of incidents we get called to, and with the extra risks associated with the winter months, our Community Safety Team will be working hard to get these messages out to the community.
"With 493 chimney fires reported across Herefordshire and Worcestershire in the last two years, chimney fire safety is of particular concern to us. We know that many fires can be prevented by having chimneys swept regularly and so we are kicking off the campaign with targeted advice, encouraging those with chimneys to book an appointment with a chimney sweep now if they have not already had their chimney swept this winter. We are also setting up some impactive 'burnt room' scenarios within busy shopping centres to help get this message across."
He added: "We will also be using social networking for the first time, posting regular Facebook and Twitter messages in a bid to reach more people with our safety advice.
"We very much hope that by issuing weekly updates via social network sites, plus more detailed advice on the website and regular media releases throughout the campaign, we will reach a wider cross section of the community with our Winter Safety messages and will help even more people stay safe this winter."