Be Burn-Free This Winter

by | Jun 1, 2024

Winter is upon us again. This time of the year we start developing strategies to keep warm and cosy.  Once again we need to be aware of the inherent dangers in the methods we use to do so. Let us remind ourselves of these dangers.

Remember that fire needs a heat source, fuel and oxygen. Examples of heat sources are heaters, stoves, imbawulas etc. Fuel could be clothes, curtains, towels, bedding, paper and so on.

The further away from the heat source the less likely the fuel is to spontaneously combust, therefore a good rule is to have a “Safe Zone” of a metre around a heat source like a space heater.

This means not sitting too close to a heater with loose clothing on, drying or warming towels or clothes on a space heater (especially panel heaters) or putting heaters too close to curtains and furniture or beds and bedding.

Also remember that heating ourselves from the inside by drinking hot liquids like coffee, tea or soup creates the potential for burns. Keep kettle cords and long loose tablecloths away from toddlers, keep toddlers and children away from hot liquids, hot porridge, hot soup and hot water (especially the bath… always run cold water first!). Hot water bottles are great but check for leaks and be very careful when filling them. Do not use boiling water as it degrades rubber.

Clothing, like jerseys, beanies, scarves, blankets and rugs are all safer alternatives to space heating (cheaper and portable too!!)

Burning braziers, imbawulas and open fires indoors creates noxious gasses, carbon dioxide and uses up healthy (to us) oxygen. These noxious gasses can be lethal and great caution is advised in doing so.  Gas heaters and appliances should be checked and serviced by knowledgeable (authorised) gas institutions/ technicians for safe use.

As for electrical heaters, the same common sense rules apply with further caveats with regards to NOT overloading plug points and extension cords. The high current draws of space heaters heat up these cords and multi-plugs and can cause ignition, particularly if they are routed under carpets or furniture for convenience.

For further information please contact the National Burn Association SA or Colin on 062 662 4862.

Photo: The Daily Sun

Making fire in an imbawula
× How can I help you?