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Fire service reminds people to keep glass and mirrors away from the sun

Authored by Matthew Vizard
Posted: Thursday, April 25, 2013 - 15:37

Sunshine is forecast over the next few days! Every year at this time Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service attends a number of fires caused by the sun’s rays focussing through or onto glass, and then setting fire to nearby objects.

At this time of year the sun is low in the sky, and shines directly through windows, so any mirrored or glass items close to the window may re-focus the sun’s rays onto combustible items, often curtains, heating them up to a point where they spontaneously ignite into flames.

Paul Bray, Community Safety Protection manager for Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service said: ‘Many people do not realise the dangers of leaving glass objects too close to windows. Anything that can concentrate the sun’s ray should be moved away from the window to reduce the risk of fire breaking out, especially where the sun can shine directly into the room.

He went on to say: ‘I have personally attended two fires caused by make-up mirrors, positioned on dressers, in bedrooms. One of these fires occurred in the early morning, with the sun shining through a south-easterly facing window, and the other occurred in the early evening, with the sun shining through a south westerly facing window. Both days were bright and sunny, but not hot.

“If any of your rooms are penetrated by bright sunlight, especially at this time of year, carry out a check to make sure any glass objects cannot re-focus the sunlight to create a fire.’

“Now would also be a good time to discuss your fire procedures with the rest of your family, fit or check your smoke alarm is working, and put into practice a simple routine of shutting internal doors, not only as part of a bedtime routine - but also whenever you leave your home unattended, as even a light internal door will prevent or reduce smoke and heat damage to a rooms contents.”