Firefighters attend flu clinics to provide winter safety advice

Avon Fire & Rescue Service (AF&RS) is offering winter fire safety advice to ensure the most vulnerable people in our communities are safe and well during the winter season.

As part of its annual winter safety campaign the Service is working with Public Health England providing seasonal fire safety advice at flu clinics.

Public Health England’s annual stay well this winter campaign encourages anybody over 65, people with long term health conditions and their carers, children between the age of two and four years and pregnant women to get a flu jab.

Firefighters attended a recent clinic at Gaywood House in Bedminster and were able to offer extra advice about reducing the risk of a fire in the home to patients.

Firefighters were also able to generate 26 Home Fire Safety Visits a scheme in which crews visit properties to give practical advice to prevent fires in the home and fit free smoke detectors if required.

In the winter months of December 2015 and January and February 2016 AF&RS was called to 121 accidental house fires.

AF&RS Group Manager Matt Peskett said: “During the winter months we often see an increase in the number of house fires we are called to. We want to try and reduce the risk of a fire in the home and encourage people to ensure they have working smoke alarms on every level of their property.

“Often the types of people who are most at risk of having a fire in the home, are the same as those invited to have a flu jab. By working with Public Health England we can ensure patients get extra value from their visit to the clinic by getting some life saving safety advice at the same time.

“We are also asking people to make sure they have working smoke alarms in their homes as the devices provide an early warning that a fire has broken out, giving time to escape, especially at night.”

Dr Julie Yates, Consultant in Public Health for NHS England South West said: “In colder weather, keeping yourself warm is essential to staying healthy, especially for the very young, older people or those with a chronic illness. There are a range of health problems associated with cold housing and winter weather, but in particular, a cold indoor environment can make heart and respiratory problems worse, and can be fatal.

“It’s great to see a range of organisations working together to help ensure people are given the right information about staying well during the winter months, using events such as flu clinics and home fire safety visits to get these messages across.

“For many people the flu is an unpleasant illness but for the most vulnerable in society – small children, the elderly, those with long-term health problems and for pregnant women – it is extremely dangerous and can be lethal. Getting the vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from catching flu and I would urge everyone who is offered the vaccine free on the NHS to get vaccinated.”

Tips to keep warm and stay safe

  • Switch off mobile phones and other appliances not in use
  • Use a fire guard on open fires
  • Never leave candles burning unattended
  • If your electric blanket more than three years old, make sure it is tested every year
  • Have your chimney swept through regularly to avoid a build-up of soot which could catch fire
  • Make sure furnishings are kept well away from all heaters and fires

Stay well advice

  • Have a flu jab (available for free to anybody over 65, people with long term health conditions and their careers, children between the age of two and four years, pregnant women)
  • Visit your local pharmacy at the first signs of illness
  • Stock up ahead of the cold weather and holiday period closures with food and other essential supplies and getting your prescriptions filled

For more information about Public Health England’s stay well this winter campaign visit

For more winter safety advice visit

To book a free Home Fire Safety Visit, visit, call 0117 926 2061 or text VISIT to 07507 319 694.