04 December 2014

Christmas dinner, wrapping presents, decorating your home – there’s lots to think about this Christmas. But one thing Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service and the Fire Kills campaign are urging Northamptonshire residents to put top of their Christmas lists this year is fire safety.

Fire statistics show that in December, 20 people a day are either killed or injured in accidental fires in the home in England. In December 2013, there were around 2,700 accidental fires in the home in England – more than any other month of the year.

Whilst fire safety is important throughout the year, the extra distractions of Christmas make it especially important to be vigilant during the festive season.

Baz Fox, Prevention and Community Protection Manager for Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue, said: “Christmas is a time for festive cheer with family and friends, but fairy lights, candles and decorations can pose a fire risk if we don’t use them safely and we should all plan to take extra care to keep our loved ones safe from fire.”

Follow our advice

To ensure you have the merriest of Christmases, keep fire safety at the top of your list and follow a few simple tips from the Fire Kills campaign to help you and your family enjoy the joys of Christmas safely:

  • Ensure you have working smoke alarms installed on all levels of your home. A working alarm can give you the vital time needed to escape from a fire. Test your smoke alarms regularly and never remove batteries!
  • Never leave cooking unattended. The majority of fires start in the kitchen, so this is a high risk area. Many of us enjoy a merry tipple over the festive season but avoid cooking whilst under the influence of alcohol. Always remember to turn off kitchen appliances when you have finished cooking.
  • Never leave burning candles unattended. Keep candles out of the reach of children, and away from decorations, cards and wrapping paper, fires, lights and heaters. Ensure you place candles and tea lights in suitable holders to avoid dripping hot wax on flammable items and keep them away from curtains.
  • Put your cigarette out, right out. Make sure your cigarette is fully extinguished and take care when under the influence of alcohol or tired. It’s very easy to fall asleep while your cigarette is still burning and set furniture alight.
  • Don’t overload sockets. Ensure only one plug per socket. Remember extension leads are meant for temporary use, not as a regular solution to a lack of sockets. Always turn off plugs when they are not in use, except those that are designed to be left on, like freezers.
  • Ensure you switch off fairy lights and unplug them before you go to bed, or leave the house. Check your Christmas tree lights 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 safety device can save lives by instantly switching off the power if there is a fault and can be found in any DIY store.
  • Community Spirit – help someone out this Christmas. Offer to test the smoke alarms of someone you know who may need help such as an older relative or neighbour to ensure their safety, as they may be at greater risk from fire, especially if they have decreased mobility.
  • Make sure that everyone in your home knows what to do in a fire – in the event of fire you should get out, stay out and call 999.