Sunderland firefighters remaining 'vigilant' during Cost of Living Crisis as families seek 'weird and wonderful inventions to heat their homes'

Firefighters have urged residents to ensure they heat their homes safely amid the ongoing Cost of Living Crisis.

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service chiefs have noted reports of "all sorts of weird and wonderful inventions" from people across the UK trying to heat their homes in recent months.

It comes as hosueholds attempt to make ends meet in the face of rising home energy bills and spiraling inflation.

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There are not yet believed to have been any any incidents linked to issues with alternative heating methods in the Tyne and Wear area.

Firefighters have raised concerns over the "weird and wonderful" heating methods some households may attempt to beat the Cost of Living Crisis.
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However they stressed they remain vigilant for potential hazards while carrying out targeted safe and well visits to homes in the region.

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Andrew Nelson, station manager at Farringdon Community Fire Station, said he and his crew keep an eye out for potential issues, as well as individuals who may need extra help.

He said: "This is something that's been flagged earlier in the summer through incidents that, touch wood, haven't been identified in the Tyne and Wear area.

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"But because of the cost of living crisis people have been coming up with all sorts of weird and wonderful inventions to heat their homes.

"When it comes to carrying out safe and well visits we're more vigilant in keeping an eye out for those types of things and passing on the advice."

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Station Manager Nelson was speaking at the most recent meeting of Sunderland City Council’s Coalfield Area Committee, in December.

‘Safe and well checks’ by firefighters see a uniformed member of staff visiting homes to carry out risk assessments, providing advice on smoke alarms and other precautions which may be needed.

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As of early December, crews have carried out 439 safe and well visits to households across the Coalfields area since April.

Station Manager Nelson was responding to Labour councillor Katherine Mason-Gage, who represents Shiney Row, who asked whether firefighters had seen any incidents of people "putting themselves in danger" through heating decisions due to the Cost of Living Crisis.

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In total, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service carried out 11,114 safe and well visits across the region from April until the end of September, an increase of 7,777, or 233%, compared to the previous year's figures.