Members of Crewkerne & District U3A were given a talk on fire safety in the home at their February meeting by Mike Toop, crew manager with Devon & Somerset Fire and Rescue Service. Mike Toop explained that most accidents that take place in the home happen in the kitchen. “There are well known dangers of cooking with hot fat and chip pans but also be aware of toasters setting fire to an overhead cupboard because they do give off a lot of heat. Tumble dryers catching fire are also getting a lot of press coverage. I urge you to register all new appliances so that if there is a product recall, manufacturers will know where to get in touch with those who have bought the appliances,” he said.

Mike Toop advised members that it was best to recharge i pads and mobile phones during the day and not overnight. He also had some advice about candles around the home and said: “Take care to use them in proper holders. Keep them away from combustible materials and never leave them unattended when lit.” Mike offered to visit members homes to advise on fire precautions, an offer which many found too good to refuse, signing up there and then for a personal home fire safety check.

Many of the U3A members who attended the talk at the Henhayes Community Centre completed the forms which were handed out by Mike Toop and took away with them advice booklets and a hand gadget to help them reach a smoke alarm to test it. “We don’t want you having to climb up a ladder and risk falling,” Mike told them. As some members of Crewkerne & District U3A live in Dorset, Mike Toop offered to contact the Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service and put them in touch with anyone who wanted a home visit.

Val Warren of the U3A said: “Mike has spent 30 years working with the fire service and certainly knows his stuff. He used his experience to give us examples of some really serious problems that could have been avoided had fire precautions been taken.” Mike Toop was thanked by U3A chair Anne Bright for the informative talk on fire safety in the home. Anne said: “Thanks to his instructive talk our U3A members will be better protected from fire as long as we heed his advice and take up his suggestions.”

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