FIRE chiefs have urged residents to ensure homes are safe for their families during the current lockdown.

While thousands of people are staying indoors across Dorset, as part of a national effort to take the strain off the NHS during the escalating pandemic, firefighters are concerned about the safety implications.

They have urged people to ensure smoke alarms are working, cooking is not left unattended and power sockets are not overloaded.

Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service (DWFRS) manager Craig Baker, head of prevention and protection, said: “We are urging people to be aware of the additional fire risks that so much time at home can bring, and to take steps to protect themselves and their families.

"There is no excuse not to have working smoke alarms which are tested regularly.

"We also ask that you take extra care in the kitchen, especially if you have young children around – and if you are enjoying a drink, consider getting a takeaway delivered instead of making something yourself."

DWFRS is urging people to:

n make sure you have a smoke alarm on each level of the house and test the batteries regularly.

n take extra care when cooking – never leave cooking unattended or leave children alone in the kitchen when the hob or oven is on. Never cook while under the influence of alcohol.

n plan an escape route in case there is a fire in the home and make sure everyone in the property knows what to do.

n check for fire hazards, such as electrical items or hobs left switched on, before you go to bed.

n don’t overload plug sockets – keep to one plug per socket and also look out for plugs and cables that are poorly wired, as they can be dangerous.

n always stub out cigarettes properly and dispose of them carefully. Don’t smoke in bed or anywhere you could fall asleep.

n make sure candles are placed in a secure holder and kept away from curtains, fabrics and paper. Always put candles out before going to bed or leaving the room.

n never try and tackle any fire yourself. Get out, stay out and call 999.

A DWFRS spokesman said: "The fire service is working hard to maintain business as usual during these unprecedented times. Some of its work will be delivered in a different way to protect the vulnerable, such as vital safe and well guidance being given by telephone, but still dial 999 in an emergency."

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