Be Fire Safe this Christmas

Christmas is a time for fun and celebrations, but at this time of year the fire service are keen for everyone to be fire safe. Fires can occur for many reasons, but over the festive period preventable house fires are one of the main reasons that 999 calls are made.

To make sure your home is fire safe this Christmas, follow these tips and encourage your family to be aware of any fire risks.

Never leave burning candles unattended

When you’re creating a cosy winter atmosphere, candles are an essential. They also cause a huge number of preventable house fires in England, usually when they are left unattended.

A candle can quickly burn out of control, particularly if it has been burning for a long time and has become very hot. Never leave candles to burn by themselves, and it’s also wise not to burn a candle for longer than two hours at a time.

Sweep the chimney

As the cold evenings draw in, there’s nothing better than lighting the fire and wrapping up warm. As lighting real fires has become less common in our centrally-heated homes, it’s easy to forget that chimneys and fireplaces need maintenance in order to work safely.

Hire a professional chimney sweep to clean your chimney and fireplace and you’ll avoid the danger of a chimney fire, as well as smoke and soot buildup in your home.

Check your smoke alarms

Yes, it’s common advice, but it’s also one of the main reasons that house fires become dangerous. Test your smoke alarm every week, and if you’ve taken the batteries out, replace them immediately.

Only buy safety-assured Christmas tree fairy lights

 It can be tempting to buy bargain decorations from market stalls and over the internet, but it’s vital that the electronics you buy have the safety certification British Standard (BS EN 60598). LED lights are the best as they do not heat up, adding another level of safety to your tree decorations.

Keep decorations away from fires and flames

Over the Christmas period, your home will be decked in tinsel, presents and all manner of festive decorations. Make sure though, that your decorations, wrapping paper and presents are kept well away from burning candles and the fireplace.

Take care where you place your tree

The Christmas tree is every home’s pride and joy over Christmastime. Be absolutely sure when you place it in your home that it isn’t blocking any doors or windows, so should you need to escape from a house fire, it doesn’t stop you from doing so.

Don’t overload plug sockets

With all the lights and chargers you’ll have plugged in around the home while everyone’s over for Christmas, it can be tempting to add more extensions to your existing plugs to give you more space. You absolutely should not overload plug sockets under any circumstance, as this creates a real risk of electrical fire and electrocution.

Don’t leave food cooking and don’t cook while drunk

Gas hobs and ovens are safe to use, but when left alone, overflowing food, splashes of oil or unexpected power surges could cause a fire without you even realising it. Take care when cooking and don’t drink and cook – you could save lives (and your turkey dinner.)

Revise your escape routes

If you have more people in your home than usual, it’s a good idea to revise your escape routes, so that everyone knows the best ways to leave the house in the event of a fire. Draw up a plan and make sure everyone in the house knows what to do should the worst happen.

If you do experience a fire in your home over the Christmas period, remember that the fire service are on call 24/7 every single day of the year, even on Christmas Day. Get out of the house immediately and call 999 as soon as it’s safe to do so.

For more fire safety advice, visit the Fire Kills website, which has more useful tips on how to have a fire safe Christmas.

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