AS temperatures plummet our homes are colder and many people are looking for extra ways to keep warm indoors.

Winter may be a time when people look out old equipment like an electric blanket or bar heater to give cold rooms an extra warmth.

However, we should all heed fire chiefs' warnings about electrical equipment and ensure that everything is in working order before switching on and only use them in the right circumstances, making sure we follow any safety instructions.

Winter is a time when homes are more at risk from electrical fires and faulty or damaged goods, often unused for a long period can often be to blame.

The best action anyone can take to stay safe is to get the free advice available from you local fire station officers, who will assess your home and spot any obvious hazards or risks.

At any time of year, make sure you have a fire escape plan and a working smoke alarm, which is tested regularly, and never be tempted to remove the batteries unless they have run out.

It may be true we can't do anything about the weather, but by being careful and following the expert advice we can cut the risks of fire and ensure this winter is safer with fewer domestic fires and fewer tragic deaths.