China Factory for for Cyprus Importers
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FIRE SERVICE FILM HIGHLIGHTS WHEAT BAG DANGER
West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service has teamed up with neighbours Surrey and East Sussex to release a film highlighting the dangers of overheating wheat bags.
The dramatic footage shows a wheat bag heated in a microwave for in excess of the manufacturers instructions and placed inside bedding where it begins to smoulder and then catches light to a pillow developing into a huge blaze.
It can take 2 to 3 hours for an overheated wheat bag to generate sufficient heat to cause bedding to smoulder, but once smouldering it only takes a couple of minutes for the bed to become fully engulfed in flames. By this time the occupant may be fast asleep and unable to react to the fire.
Wheat bags are therapeutic heating pads, usually containing buckwheat or wheatgrass, used a source of warmth or to relieve aches and pains. They come in all shapes and sizes and have become an increasingly popular alternative to hot water bottles, particularly amongst older residents, but if used incorrectly can lead to a devastating fire.
In recent months all three fire services have been called into action to tackle fires started because of wheat bags. In January, West Sussex fire crews were called to two wheat bag blazes in less than a week, one of which resulted in an eighty year old woman requiring hospital treatment. This prompted fire investigation officers from the neighbouring counties to carry out the controlled demonstration at Surrey’s purpose built training facility.
Roger Wood, head of Community Fire Safety at West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service, said:
“This demonstration shows just how dangerous wheat bag can be when they are overheated. Wheat bags should all come with manufacturer’s instructions including maximum heating times and it’s vital that people follow these.
If the original packaging is thrown away there is sometimes no indication on the bag itself how long it should be in the microwave for, so timing could easily be forgotten or overestimated. Our advice is to keep any packaging and instructions stored with the bag.
We feel showing this demonstration is important so that people are fully aware of the risks, especially when you consider it is often vulnerable and elderly people who use these products.”
West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service offers the following simple dos and don’ts:
. Buy wheat bags with clear heating instructions from the manufacturer and follow them
. Double check you have programmed the correct into your microwave, it’s easy to accidentally add extra digits
. Only use a heat pack for direct application to the body
. Watch for signs of overuse, such as a smell of burning or charring
. Leave bags to cool in a safe area and on a non-combustible surface like a kitchen sink
. Overheat the bag by exceeding the stated maximum heating times
. Reheat the bag until it has completely cooled, which may take up to two hours
. Leave the microwave unattended when heating the bag
. Store the bag until it is cold
. Use the bag if you see evidence of problems
For more information on wheat bags and a full range of home fire safety advice visit the West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service website at www.westsussex.gov.uk/fire or contact the Community Fire Safety Team on 01243 642879