Kent fire and rescue service offers advice about snow

A family playing in the snow

A family playing in the snow

The fire and rescue service has offered advice to Kent residents about snow.

With snow forecast across the county tomorrow, Kent Fire and Rescue Service says it wants to help the public stay safe and tells them not to make unnecessary calls to the emergency services.

Although it may seem an unusual move for a service dealing with fire, it says a blaze can quickly take hold when people are attempting to keep themselves cold in the freezing conditions, particularly the rare phenomenon of ‘thundersnow’ which could be coming to Kent.

Snow Plough 1

Its assistant director for community safety, Ian Thomson, said: “We would like to reassure people that we have place practical plans in place to ensure the service is prepared during this period of cold weather and snow, and that our staff will be working really hard to ensure fire stations are ready to provide a 999 response when needed.

“We are asking the public to help us by only calling if they really need us, to avoid making non-essential journeys on the roads, adjust their driving to the weather conditions and to follow the safety tips below to keep themselves safe in the home.

“Remember that a fire can quickly take hold, which is why it’s vital you have working smoke alarms on every floor of your home to provide early warning in the unfortunate event of a fire.”

Snow 1

The service offered this key advice for staying safe indoors:

  • If you plan on using an open fire, make sure your chimney has been recently swept as build-ups of soot and ash can cause chimney fires.
  • When going to bed, make absolutely certain that any open fire is either out, or pushed back into the grate and a guard used to prevent sparks setting light to carpets or furniture.
  • Interior doors should always be closed when going to bed as they can dramatically reduce the spread of fire.
  • Portable heaters should be dust-free and kept well away from anything that could catch fire, including clothing or laundry.
  • Candles should always be placed on a non-flammable surface, be away from soft furnishing like curtains and never be left unattended.
  • Unplug electrical items, including chargers, after use and do not leave washing machines, tumble dryers or dishwashers running overnight or if you go out.
  • Make sure you fit, and regularly test, a smoke alarm. It is the single most important piece of safety equipment in any home.

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Key advice for staying safe on the roads during severe weather is available from the Met Office website. This advice includes:

  • Check the weather forecast before you travel.
  • Remember that snow and ice creates dangerous driving conditions, so only travel if your journey is essential.
  • Try to wait for roads to be gritted before setting off, and remember not all roads will be treated.
  • Allow plenty of time for your journey and tell someone at your destination what time you expect to arrive.
  • Defrost your car fully – get rid of snow, ice and condensation from windows and lights so that you can see, and be seen, properly. This should include any snow on the roof, which can fall off during the journey and create difficulties for vehicles that may be following. Before you go, make sure you always have warm clothes in the car in case you get caught out.
  • Pack a survival kit including spare clothes, blanket, water and food, as well as a fully-charged mobile phone or battery pack, in case you break down or get stranded.
  • Beware of black ice, taking extra care in shaded areas or in the dark.
  • Use major roads for journeys rather than smaller, quieter roads.
  • In wet and icy conditions brake gently to avoid skidding.
  • Keep a safe distance from other vehicles to give yourself more time to react.

Snow 2

For more safety advice or further information on keeping safe and well this winter call the Kent Fire and Rescue Service for free on 0800 923 7000.

And here is some more advice from the AA about driving in the snow.