POLICE and fire chiefs are urging people to be extra careful and to stay safe ahead of an expected cold snap.
Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service and Derbyshire Police have issued several top tips to try and keep warm and safe this winter.
Last year, the service attended a number of incidents caused by heating appliances, open fires and chimneys and are looking to make sure that people are more careful in 2014.
Head of risk reduction Glynn Luznyj said: “We urge people to take extra care when using portable heaters and open or gas fires by not getting too close to them and by keeping flammable materials, such as clothes and curtains, a safe distance away.
“People who have open fires or wood burners should ensure that any wood being used as fuel is dry, as damp wood often spits when it is set alight.
“Residents are also encouraged to fit carbon monoxide alarms in their homes and test them on a regular basis as you would your smoke alarms.
“If your carbon monoxide alarm activates, our advice is to turn off any gas appliances straight away and open as many doors and windows as possible.
“If anyone experiences any symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, such as headaches, dizziness or vomiting, call us and move to a location that has fresh air as soon as possible.
“We would also ask members of the community to check on vulnerable friends, neighbours and members of family to make sure that they are safe.”
Derbyshire Police has also asked people to make sure they take ‘extra care’ while defrosting their cars.
The force wants to put off opportunist thieves who might attempt to steal a car while its owners wait for it to warm up.
A spokesman for the force said: “If you are tempted to leave your car to warm up on your driveway with its engine running, take care.
“Leaving it unlocked makes it easy for an opportunist thief and could invalidate insurance.”
To report a crime, call 101.