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Are you ready for winter?

As the nights get colder and darker, the chances of severe weather increase.

Storms, floods and other extreme conditions can cause damage to network infrastructure and disrupt your energy supply.

That’s why Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service is reminding the public to be well prepared for power cuts and gas emergencies that may result from bad winter weather.

In recent years the chances of unplanned problems with electricity and gas supply have reduced dramatically, and network companies have invested £billions in improving the reliability of local energy networks in the UK.

As a result, on average, electricity and gas distribution customers hardly ever suffer a power cut or interrupted gas supply these days.

Despite this, however, our gas and electricity networks can be affected by natural events, with severe winter weather potentially causing significant damage.

So be Winter Ready for the 2020/21 winter.

Make sure you’re prepared in case you have a power cut or gas emergency.

To be well prepared:

  • know your free emergency numbers – in a power cut dial 105 or, for a gas emergency, dial 0800 111 999
  • prepare your home – keep a torch handy and get your appliances serviced by a Gas Safe registered engineer to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning
  • find out about the Priority Services Register – a free service provided by suppliers and network operators to vulnerable households which can give advance notice of planned power cuts or priority support in an emergency, eg with cooking and heating facilities. (Each energy supplier and network operator maintains its own register – to get on it, contact your energy supplier or visit www.energynetworks.org to find out who your network operator is.
  • keep a regular check on the weather forecast

Emma Roberts, HWFRS Community Risk Manager, said: “The danger of fire is also at its greatest during autumn and winter – so we’re asking people to remember these simple safety tips as the bad weather approaches:

  • watch out for overloaded plug sockets – many people use four-way bar adaptors to allow them to plug in more appliances, particularly in older properties that have fewer sockets
  • make sure that any portable heaters are being used safely – they should not be used to dry or heat clothes and should not be left switched on and unattended
  • check that electric blankets are in good condition – and that manufacturers’ instructions are followed
  • position your candles carefully – make sure they are on a stable surface, out of the reach of pets and children, and away from flammable objects like curtains, furniture, bedding, books and newspapers, especially while the Christmas decorations are up
  • fit smoke alarms and test them regularly – working smoke alarms can buy you valuable time to Get out, Stay out and Call 999
  • make sure that everyone in your home knows what to do if there is a fire – practise and memorise your escape route