Finns warned over sauna fires

Finns warned over sauna fires

A woman in a sauna in FinlandImage copyright

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Millions of Finns use saunas, but look at all that storage space

People in Finland are being advised not to use their saunas as storage space because they could be a fire risk.

The warning comes from the head of fire and rescue services in the west of the country, who says that the “worrying trend” is a recipe for disaster, national broadcaster Yle reports. While sauna is a national obsession in Finland to the point that Suomi Post issued a set of sauna-related stamps, some Finns would rather put the space to other uses, it seems. There is thought to be two million saunas in the country, bringing warmth to a population of 5.4 million.

According to Jaakko Pukkinen, people are being “increasingly careless of late” in using their home sauna for domestic storage or even drying clothes. All it needs, he says, is for the stove to be turned on accidentally for a potentially fatal house fire to occur.

If you’re not using your sauna any more, Mr Pukkinen advises disconnecting it from the mains electricity to avoid such dangers. “At very least the fuses should be removed from the circuit, but preferably the wiring should be disconnected so that it cannot come on under any circumstances,” he says.

An average of 74 people die every year in fires in Finland, Yle reports, citing figures from the emergency services. While fatalities from sauna fires are not mentioned, Mr Pukkinen says many domestic blazes get out of control due to carelessness which fire services recognise the world over – naked flames, faulty electrical equipment, and non-functioning smoke alarms.

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