The next winter storm is forecast to bring wet, windy and wintry weather to communities across the country this evening through to Saturday.

During this period of unsettled weather, people are advised to stay up to date with the latest Met Office forecastsand National Severe Weather Warnings.

The main risks normally associated with this weather are flooding and loss of power due to the wind and rain. The public may find themselves in a situation where their homes are affected.

The Fire Service would like to remind anyone who finds themselves without power or water entering the home that they can take a few simple steps to ensure, they are not placed in any additional risk from fire.

  • Children and pets should not be left alone with lit candles.

  • Put candles out when you leave the room, and make sure they’re put out completely at night.

  • Trim the wick to ¼ inch each time before burning. Long or crooked wicks can cause uneven burning, dripping or flaring.

  • Don’t move candles once they are lit

  • Follow the manufacturer's recommendations on burn time and proper use.

  • Do not burn several candles close together as this might cause flaring (mainly with tea-lights).

  • Always make sure tea-lights are placed in a proper holder. The foil container which tea lights come in can get very hot. They can melt through plastic, such as a bath, and have the potential to start a house fire.

  • Use a snuffer or a spoon to put out candles. It’s safer than blowing them out when embers can fly.

If your home suffers a loss of power or is flooded and you are using portable heaters to heat or dry out your home, it's important to follow simple steps to stay safe:

  • Keep heaters away from curtains and furniture and never use them for drying clothes.

  • Unplug or switch off portable heaters when you go out or go to bed.

  • Secure portable heaters in position to avoid the risk of them being knocked over

  • Only use gas or paraffin heaters in well-ventilated areas. Heaters consume oxygen and in enclosed spaces can produce harmful gases and/or cause carbon monoxide poisoning.

  • Fit a Carbon Monoxide detector in all rooms containing gas or paraffin heaters.

  • Never use portable gas cylinder heaters in high rise flats Always change gas cylinders in the open air. Never change gas cylinders in an enclosed space.

For more safety advice, visit Fire Scotland's Winter safety page.