LFB warns on heater fires

LFB warns on heater fires

LONDON FIRE Brigade (LFB) has given a warning to the public after a ‘spate of heater fires’.

In its advice, LFB stated that ‘three serious fires’ in recent weeks were caused by heaters, and have prompted it to issue the electric heater warning ‘as temperatures drop’. Seven people have died in such fires in the last five years, LFB stated, while 164 people have suffered injuries, and such fires ‘typically start when bedding, blankets or clothes are placed too close to heaters’. In total, 819 fires were caused in the last five years by such heaters, with portable ones the ‘biggest concern.

Despite the fact that these heaters have only started about 3% of electrical fires in London, a third of such fires ‘resulted in a fatality’, with 2012/2013 featuring the highest number of electrical heater fires. The winter, ‘one of the coldest winters on record’, had a mean temperature of 3.3 degrees Celcius, 0.4 degrees below the long term average.

Dan Daly, assistant commissioner for fire safety, commented: ‘When it gets cold, instinctively, we might want to pull heaters up close but blankets and duvets or other material getting too close to heaters is a dangerous fire risk. Shockingly almost 60% of fatal fires involving heaters are caused by clothing or furniture being too close.

‘People need to make sure their portable heaters are standing upright and kept well away from objects and materials that might cause a fire.  Never use one to dry your clothes. Those with mobility issues are especially at risk of tripping or falling onto a heater so placing them at a safe distance is all the more important.

‘Although the stats focus on electric heaters we should not forget that other heaters such as gas and open fires carry an equal fire risk if not used correctly. Homeowners should always make sure their heaters are checked regularly and are well maintained.’