Whether improving your life style, wellbeing or home East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service are encouraging the public to make sure the safety of you and your family and friends is at the top of your list of resolutions this year.
• I will check on my neighbours – Cold weather is especially dangerous for older people or people with serious illnesses, so check in on them if you can.
• I will be prepared for bad weather – whether its high winds, heavy rain ice or snow being prepared gives you the best chance of staying safe.
• I will be bright and be seen – wearing hi-vis or reflective clothing and having lights on your bike to increase chances of being seen in low-light as well as at night.
• I will know who to call for help – The fire service aren’t always the right people to call in an emergency check out our website for tips on who to call in severe weather www.esfrs.org/your-safety/winter-weather-floods.
• I will check my vehicle before I drive – simple check can you’re your journey safer and more pleasurable www.esfrs.org/your-safety/road-safety/winter-driving/
• I will drive safely – A single journey may take us into very different weather, road and traffic conditions, so we need to be prepared for each one.
For further information visit www.esfrs.org/your-safety/road-safety
A Sweep in Time Saves 999
East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service is highlighting the dangers of chimney fires as the temperatures continue to drop this winter.
Make sure your chimney is swept regularly and remember chimneys should be swept according to the type of fuel used:
• Smokeless fuels – at least once a year.
• Bituminous coal – at least twice a year.
• Wood – quarterly when in use.
• Oil – once a year.
• Gas – once a year (Any work on gas appliances requires a Gas Safe registered
Keep chimneys and flues clean and well maintained
• Be careful when using open fires to keep warm. Make sure you always use a fire guard
to protect against flying sparks from hot embers.
• Ensure the fire is extinguished before going to bed or leaving the house.
• Ensure good quality fuel is used.
• Never interrupt the air supply by blocking air vents or air bricks.
Precautions with open fires
• Do not overfill a fire grate in case coals fall out.
• Use a spark guard.
• Do not place a mirror above a fire, people may stand to close.
• Do not position furniture too close to the fire.
How do I know when I have a chimney fire?
• A loud roaring noise, which occurs as massive amounts of air are sucked through the appliance or fireplace opening and used to oxidize the combustible fuels within the system.
• Sparks and flames seen shooting from the chimney top, which can be firework like in appearance.
• A glowing or shimmering appliance outlet or connector.
• Vibrating appliance, outlet or connector.
• Flames visible through any tiny cracks in the outlet or connector.
• Smoke and odours noticeable in adjoining rooms or the loft space.
• The heating up of the chimney breast or flue pipe, in the same room as the appliance and also other rooms that the flue passes through.
What to do in the event of a chimney fire
• Put the spark guard on and call 999.
• REMEMBER – If it is left unattended, a chimney fire can spread into the rest of the
• Some people fear that they will be charged for the Fire Service to attend a chimney fire – this is not true
For more information visit our website www.esfrs.org
Be flood aware this winter
East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service is reminding the public of the importance of knowing what to do if there is flooding.
East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service can help with:
• Rescue people who are at risk and assist with evacuations of buildings.
• Pump out water from buildings, although this may not always be appropriate. For example if the flooding is linked to the water table or the high tide, the water will return. In these cases we may return after the water levels have dropped in order to assist with recovery.
• Give advice about making properties safe and secure.
• Work with other organisations such as electricity companies to ensure public safety.
• Work with the Environment Agency to protect important sites such as hospitals and power stations.
The best way to deal with potential floods is to be prepared, and there are lots of tools available to help you to assess your risk of flood.
The Environment agencies flood map is a great way to check out the flood risk in your area, you can also register for flood warnings if you are in an at risk area. You can find these on line by searching for ‘environment agency flood map’.
Should you find you are at risk the government has designed two check lists you can use to prepare for flooding. You can find these at www.gov.uk by searching for personal or business flood plan.
Flood prevention and safety
Floods can happen quickly so don’t wait until it is too late to think about preparation.
Do some research to find out:
• Whether your area has flooded before and if there is any specific flood advice for your area.
• How to turn off your electricity and gas supplies.
• What is covered by your insurance?
• Who you can call if you need assistance (link to useful contacts list).
Staying alert and preparing for the worst can help keep you, your family and your property safe.
For more information on flood safety and useful contacts see our website www.esfrs.org/your-safety/winter-weather-floods
Keep warm and take care this winter
Although winter comes as no surprise, many of us are not ready for its arrival. If you are prepared for the hazards of winter, you will be more likely to stay safe and healthy during the falling temperatures and changeable weather.
East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service have some useful tips for staying safe and warm.
While keeping yourself warm over the winter months, protect yourself from the threat of accidental fires in the home.
Portable heater safety
• Never leave portable heaters unattended.
• Never leave them on whilst sleeping.
• Keep heaters clear from curtains and furniture and never use them for drying clothes.
• Don’t cover air vents on storage heaters or fan heaters.
• Never buy second hand halogen heaters.
• Never power a halogen heater from an extension lead – these can easily be overloaded and cause fires.
• Regularly inspect your heater for damage. If it’s damaged – don’t use it.
How to stay warm and healthy this winter
• Wrap up warm, inside and out. Layer clothing to stay warm and wear shoes with a good grip if you need to go outside.
• Draw your curtains as soon as it gets dark to stop the heat escaping and the draughts coming in.
• Keep any windows and internal doors closed when it’s cold – this will keep heat inside, where you most need it.
• Food is a vital source of energy, which helps keep your body warm. Try to make sure that you have hot meals and hot drinks regularly throughout the day and keep active in the home if you can.
• If you’re sitting down, a shawl or blanket will provide extra warmth.
• If you’re over 65, the Government recommends that you have a seasonal flu jab. The flu jab is free to people aged 65 and over and also to carers and people under 65 who have conditions that make them susceptible to complications if they have flu. Ask your GP if you think you could be eligible.
Check up on friends, relatives and neighbours who may be more vulnerable to cold weather. Cold weather is especially dangerous for older people or people with serious illnesses, so check in on them if you can.
• Check on older neighbours or relatives to make sure they’re safe and well.
• Make sure they’re warm enough, especially at night. If they are worried about the costs of heating, check they are receiving their heating bill benefits, such as Winter Fuel Payment and Cold Weather Payment.
• Make sure the person you are looking in on is eating well and has some non-perishable foods in the cupboard that they can heat up in case they can’t leave the house for a few days.
• Many older people take medicines and everyone over 65 should have a free flu jab. Ask if there is anything you can do to help – picking up a prescription or giving them a lift to the GP’s. And if you are unwell, take real care not to pass it on.
Health and Wellbeing visits are available throughout East Sussex and Brighton and Hove and are designed to support older people by visiting them in their own homes for a conversation about their health and wellbeing needs and priorities. Basic information and advice is offered together with the option of a referral for any additional support.
See if you’re eligible for a free Home Safety Visit or Health and Wellbeing and visit www.esfrs.org/your-safety/home-safety-visits
Stay safe on the roads this winter
East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service are sharing the following tips that may help you cope better with the various seasonal weather hazards.
Light up – It is illegal to ride a bike in the dark without
lights and reflectors so make sure your bike has good lights, fitted where they can be seen.
Be seen – add reflective strips to knees and ankles – the pedalling movement makes
light from vehicle headlights bounce back to the driver making it easier to spot cyclists. Also wear a reflective vest and, of course, have lights on your bike to increase chances of being seen in low-light as well as at night.
Get out of the gutter – You should always be at least 50cm from the kerb, and
sometimes further. Positioning yourself further into the road makes you more visible.
Check your bike – Look after your bike brakes, gears and lights. There’s more debris
on the roads at this time of year and that can affect the performance of your bike,
especially when it comes to braking.
Be vigilant – It is obviously much harder to see things in the dark and that includes
potholes and pedestrians as well as other traffic. Watch out for slippery leaves in
autumn, and black ice on the roads as temperatures drop.
Dress properly – Making sure you’re warm and dry goes a long way to making sure
you’re comfortable on the bike in winter.
Be extremely careful as frost, ice and snow will make walking on footpaths very dangerous.
Make sure you are wearing appropriate footwear, wear shoes or boots with appropriate traction.
Don’t walk with your hands in your pockets, walk with your hands out and wear gloves so you can break your fall if you do slip.
Visibility is reduced in snowy or freezing fog conditions so wear high visibility clothing – consider carrying a torch.
Ice can easily hide under a light dusting of snow – just because you don’t see the ice doesn’t mean it’s not there waiting for your unsuspecting footfalls.
Try to avoid carrying things while walking in icy or snowy conditions, as this can throw
you off balance.
Breaking down is never a pleasant experience. It’s even worse if you have to wait for recovery, outside your vehicle, in cold and wintery weather. You’ll also want your vehicle to be in the best condition to handle difficult driving conditions in severe weather. So it’s a good idea to get your vehicle serviced before the winter to reduce the chance of problems.
Car Emergency Kit
Ice scraper and de-icer.
Torch and spare batteries – or a wind-up torch.
Warm clothes and blankets – for you and all passengers.
First aid kit.
Jump start cables.
Food and a warm drink in a thermos.
Reflective warning sign.
Sunglasses – the glare off any snow can be dazzling.
Mobile phone charger.
For more winter driving safety advice go to our website www.esfrs.org/your-safety/road-safety/winter-driving