Jan. 5, 2015
The onset of winter brings added risks of fire and theft, and Chubb wants to help keep homes, families and belongings safe and secure.
With winter upon us, more people heat their homes to combat the cold weather. Accidental dwelling fires increased 7 percent in the winter months of 2013 compared with the rest of the year, according to the Department for Communities and Local Government. And unfortunately, it is also the season for property crime. Research shows that homes are 15 percent more likely to be burgled in winter than in summer, according to the Office for National Statistics.
To help in the prevention of crime and the prevention, detection and containment of fire, Chubb offers this 12-point guide to staying safe over the festive period and winter:
- Fit a smoke alarm. Test your smoke alarm weekly and change the batteries at least once a year.
- If using an electric blanket, make sure the cord isn’t frayed or worn before plugging it in.
- Going away? Do not post on social media about your travel plans. Do install a timer to switch lights on and off so that the house appears to be occupied.
- Do not keep keys in a place that is visible from outside, such as hanging on hooks, and do not hide keys near a door, such as under the doormat, as thieves know to check these places.
- Don’t forget to keep your garden gates locked, too.
- Consider installing a motion activated exterior light to welcome you home after dark – and deter unwanted visitors.
- Never leave fires, candles or any form of exposed flame in the home unattended, and ensure children are always supervised when around fires, candles or matches.
- If using gas-, oil- or coal-burning appliances, use a CO alarm to be quickly alerted of carbon monoxide dangers. Ensure the home is properly ventilated and equipment is regularly serviced and maintained.
- In the kitchen, keep a fire blanket or suitable extinguisher handy.
- Avoid wearing baggy clothes while cooking and around heaters, candles and open fires.
- In case of a fire, have a plan. Make sure you have more than one escape route should your exit become blocked.
- Use common sense.
“A house fire can start unexpectedly at any time,” said Jane Garland, marketing and communications manager, Chubb Fire & Security. “People need to be particularly careful at this time of year as they resort to additional heating. More than 31,000 homes suffer some form of fire each year, and for many, the consequences can be devastating in both loss of life and property. What is really staggering is the number of homeowners who have still yet to fit any form of fire or smoke alarm, and those who have but don’t test them regularly.
“Likewise almost anyone can find themselves a victim of domestic burglary. By following Chubb’s list of basic precautions and using common sense, we hope that people can take small but meaningful measures to reduce the chance of their home being burgled,” Garland said.