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West Sussex Fire service warns of ‘alternative heating’ dangers amid cold snap

Firefighters in West Sussex are urging people to be careful when using alternative methods of heating their homes during the cold snap. 

With the cost of central heating rising and temperatures plummeting, many are using open fires, electric blankets, portable heaters and wheat bags to keep warm, yet these methods can pose dangerous fire risks.  

Last week West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service attended seven fires in homes across the county, including a small fire in Worthing caused by an electrical heater in close proximity of combustible materials.

Fortunately the electrical supply to the heater was cut early on and the fire burnt itself out, but the outcome could have been much more severe.

Earlier on in the month residents in Midhurst also had a lucky escape after being alerted by their smoke detector to a chimney fire which had been slowly burning in the wall cavity over a number of days.

Chris Bowles, Station Manager for Worthing Fire Station said: “The number of fire risks in the people’s homes has no doubt increased as temperatures have dropped below freezing. In no way do we want to stop people from using these methods of heating to see them through the cold months, but it is vital that people are aware of the dangers their appliances hold and know how to prevent any fires in the home.

“I’d urge residents to use our online home fire safety check tool to help spot fire risks in their homes and find out what steps can be taken to reduce those risks. 

“It is also imperative that people have working smoke alarms fitted on each level of their home to give them the greatest chance of evacuating the property quickly and safely should a fire break out.”

For more advice on electrical and heating fire safety, please visit

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