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24 March 2020

Fire safety warning as many work from home to stem spread of Covid-19

Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service are issuing urgent #StayHomeStaySafe advice as many people enter their first full week of working from home amidst the Coronavirus pandemic. 

The Government wants people to stay at home in order to contain the spread of Covid-19, protect the NHS and save lives.

With the increased numbers of people at home during the day, Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service (FRS) are warning of the potential for more fires as people adapt their daily routines and others are in isolation, and calling for people to think, take action and avoid becoming a further casualty for the NHS.

Cumbria FRS are warning that common causes of fires in the home such as cooking, smoking, electrical items and heating sources could become even more prevalent as people are spending more time indoors than usual.

Will Richardson, Group Manager, Prevention, said: “It’s absolutely vital that in these uncertain and unprecedented times people don’t forget about basic fire safety in the home. Clearly with increased numbers of people indoors for much longer periods of time, there is a heightened risk of fire.

“This is about keeping you and your loved ones safe and we must all do what we can to not add pressure to our already challenged NHS. There are simple things we can all do to ensure we are keeping safe while we are all spending more time at home. The first thing you can do is test that your smoke alarms are working.” 

Cooking fires are a major concern as people are expected to cook more during the day and with schools shut and children at home, parents could get distracted.

As people who don’t usually work from home set up temporary offices, there is also a risk of an increase in electrical fires.

Hazards include overloading plug sockets, using counterfeit or incorrect chargers for tablets, laptops and mobile phones and “daisy-chaining” - plugging multiple extension leads together or plugging many multi-socket adaptors into a single socket. 

Group Manager Will Richardson added: “This is all about basic fire safety awareness and the checks we are advising will take just a few minutes to carry out to keep you and your family safe.”

Here are some simple tips to stay safe at home:

  • Ensure you have working smoke alarms installed on all levels of your home. Working alarms can give you the vital time needed to escape in a fire. Test your smoke alarms regularly and never remove batteries.
  • Never leave cooking unattended. The majority of fires start in the kitchen so this is a high risk area. You may enjoy a tipple while you’re spending more time at home but be sure to avoid cooking whilst under the influence of alcohol. Always turn off kitchen appliances when you have finished cooking.
  • Put your cigarette out, right out. If you smoke, make sure your cigarette is fully extinguished and take care when under the influence of alcohol or if you are tired. It’s very easy to fall asleep while your cigarette is still burning and set furniture alight.
  • Never use heaters to dry clothes. Heaters can start fires when things are placed too close to them. Keep them well away from curtains, clothing and furniture.

Don’t overload sockets. Ensure only one plug per socket. Always turn off plugs when they are not in use, except those that are designed to be left on, like freezers.


Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service are issuing urgent #StayHomeStaySafe advice as many people enter their first full week of working from home amidst the Coronavirus pandemic.