Essex County Fire and Rescue Service is asking people to show online how they are implementing fire safety at home during the coronavirus lockdown.

With the risk of accidental house fires increasing when people are at home, families are being told to consider extra safety while they self-isolating and social distancing during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Keeping a few simple safety themes in mind and changing behaviour can limit the risk and keep your safe.

Rick Hylton, deputy chief fire officer, said: “Data tells us accidental house fires are more likely to happen when people spend more time at home – they are cooking, using more electrical items, juggling work and childcare and generally trying to keep everyone entertained.

“With everyone from parents, grandparents, kids and even the cat and dog, potentially sharing the same space, we could see distraction, clutter and lack of routine adding to this risk during this time.

“We think Essex can stop this trend by working together with their families to keep their home protected from the risk of fire.”

The main areas to consider while you’re at home are:

• Kitchen safety - ensuring you’re not distracted and do not leave cooking unattended

• Electrics - not overloading plug sockets

• Smoking - always making sure you extinguish cigarettes

• Candles - never leaving them unattended, placing them on appropriate surfaces and keeping them out of reach of children and pets

• Escape plans - ensuring you know your escape routes and keep them clear of clutter

• Bedtime routine - closing all doors, turning everything off and making sure you would know how to exit your house quickly.

• Garden safety - making sure all fires and hot ashes are extinguished and disposing of them safely

Andrea MacAlister, head of community safety, said: “The number one way a family can protect themselves is by having a working smoke alarm and regularly testing it.

“But there’s lot of other ways people can avoid a fire starting in the first place, by avoiding distraction, taking extra precautions with electrical items and thinking about your surroundings and fire safety.

“If you have any ideas or photos of your own share them with us on social media, using the hashtag #StaySafeEssex - we’d love to see everyone get involved in sharing photos and messages on how their whole family is staying safe while they are at home.

“Please also remember, at a time we’re being discouraged from seeing our older and more vulnerable friends and relatives, it’s really important to continue to check on them in other ways, perhaps over the phone, by video call or even by talking to a neighbour over the garden fence.”

ECFRS confirmed that it will continue to carry out home safety visits to its most vulnerable people and has opened a number for others needing advice.

The public and partners can call for advice and guidance or to refer someone who is at serious risk of fire.

• People who are less vulnerable can arrange free smoke alarms to fit themselves - ECFRS will provide advice and guidance on where to put them as well as a copy of the home safety booklet

• People who would like fire safety or crime prevention advice over the phone can arrange a call with an experienced Safe and Well Officer by calling 0300 303 0088

ECFRS is also reassuring people that there is currently no change to the way they respond to emergency incidents for people who live, work and travel in Essex.

Join their home safety campaign by using and following the hashtag #StaySafeEssex and visit their website for the latest updates.

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