South Yorkshire Fire Service are urging people to ‘Save Safely’ after an increase in incidents involving people burning toxic materials to heat their homes.

In a recent case, an occupant was overcome by carbon monoxide poisoning as a result of burning coal in a tin bucket in their living room.

 Area Manager Matt Gillatt, head of the joint Police and Fire Community Safety Department, said: “We know times are tough for lots of people right now, but the pattern we are seeing around unsafe heating in homes is concerning.

“Our ask is that people ensure they save safely, take extra care when it comes to using things like log burners and electric blankets, and please don’t use tin buckets or small gas cylinders to heat your homes – they aren’t safe.”

With the most recent energy price rise in October, people have been looking for ways to keep their bills down.

But instead of burning inappropriate materials, the Fire Service is urging people to use hot water bottles and electric blankets.

Gillatt added: “We would strongly urge people to ensure they have working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms fitted in their properties.

“These are life-saving devices that will give you early warning should you be at risk.”

A recent change in the law means Landlords have an obligation to fit out their rented homes with a carbon monoxide detector.

The Fire Service also offers a free smoke alarm testing service.

Residents simply have to input a phone number or email address and they will be reminded, each week, to ensure their alarms are working.

Gillatt continued: “Smoke alarms don’t get the credit they deserve – they really do save lives but they can only save you if they are working.

“By testing and dusting them regularly, you ensure they are working should you ever need them, and don’t just take our word for it, either.”

Officers say that using smoke alarms could potentially save a life further down the line.

Gillatt said: “Our figures show that there have been 791 instances in the last three years where a smoke alarm has sounded and given occupants early warning of a fire in their home. Unfortunately, there were 430 cases where smoke alarms weren’t present or didn’t work.

“Needless to say, the fire damage was worse in these cases.”

For more information about fire alarm servicing, please click here.