HARROW firefighters are urging residents to be on guard this winter as temperatures drop and the number of fire hazards increases.

Nick O’Reilly, the Brigade’s Borough Commander in Harrow, points out the three 'Cs' that people should be savvy to: "Cigarettes, candles and cookers all pose a serious fire risk if not used carefully. Cigarettes that have been carelessly disposed of cause the deaths of several Londoners each year – I can’t stress enough how important it is to put your cigarette out properly.

Statistics reveal that over half the people who die in fires do not have a working smoke alarm, and Mr O'Reilly explains that they are often the difference between life and death, particularly for elderly friends and relatives.

“It’s absolutely essential to have a working smoke alarm on every level of your home and test them regularly. Smoke alarms can and do save peoples’ lives, it’s as simple as that.

“If you have older or less mobile friends, neighbours or relatives why not pay them a visit, check they’re OK and make sure they have a smoke alarm? By doing so you could save a life."