With Christmas just around the corner, Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) is issuing seasonal safety advice to help keep everyone safe from fire over the holiday season.
Colder weather, decorations, a houseful of guests and celebrations involving alcohol can all combine to create an increased fire risk, with kitchen and cooking fires a particular concern.
Taking some simple steps can help protect your family, loved ones and home over the Christmas period.
Keeping Christmas safe
Jo Gouldson, of the NFRS community safety team, said: “Christmas is a time for festive cheer with family and friends. But fairy lights, candles and decorations mean it is also a time to take extra care to keep loved ones safe from fire.
“To ensure you have the merriest of Christmases, keep fire safety at the top of your list. Keep decorations away from heat sources, place candles in suitable holders and never leave them unattended. Always turn off and unplug Christmas lights before you go to bed too.
“Avoid cooking while under the influence of alcohol, don’t leave cooking unattended, ensure all guests know your household escape plan and have working smoke alarms on every level of your home.”
Stay warm, stay safe
Keeping warm in cold snaps can also pose safety risks. If using portable heaters, keep them away from flammable materials, never cover them, and always turn them off before you go to bed.
Chimneys should also be regularly swept, with a fireguard used for open fires. Gas appliances should be serviced regularly, and you should ensure you fit and regularly test carbon monoxide alarms.
Area Manager Mark Ainge added: “From our firefighting family to yours, we wish everyone in Northamptonshire a safe and very merry Christmas and New Year.”
Festive fire safety advice
- Don’t cook if you have been drinking alcohol and never leave cooking unattended. Make sure you turn off all appliances when you finish cooking.
- Never place candles near your Christmas tree or materials that can catch alight easily – these include candles, cards, and decorations.
- Keep candles, lighters and matches out of children’s reach. Never leave lit candles unattended.
- Decorations can burn easily – so don’t attach them to lights or heaters
- Never overload electrical sockets. Always switch Christmas lights off and unplug them before you go to bed.
- Check your Christmas tree lights carry the British Safety Standard sign, conform to the British Standard (BS EN 60598) and are in good working order before use.
- Always use an RCD (residual current device) on outdoor electrical equipment. This can save lives by instantly switching off the power if there is a fault.
General fire safety advice
- Ensure you have working smoke alarms on every level of your home and test them regularly.
- Take time to check on older relatives and neighbours this Christmas as they are potentially at greater risk from fire. Test their smoke alarms if they can’t do so themselves.
- Ensure all cigarettes are fully extinguished, and take care if smoking when tired or under the influence of alcohol.
- Never use heaters to dry clothes. Heaters can start fires when things are placed too close to them. Keep them well away from curtains, clothing and furniture
- Make sure your family and visitors know how to escape in an emergency – if a fire breaks out you should get out, stay out and call 999.