Christmas dinner, wrapping presents, decorating your home – there’s lots to think about this Christmas. But one thing North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service and the Fire Kills campaign are urging local residents to put top of their Christmas lists this year is fire safety.
While fire safety is important throughout the year, the extra distractions of Christmas make it especially important to be vigilant during the festive season. This is why North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service is asking people to take extra care over the festive season to ensure that their families and loved ones are protected from fire.
Preventing Christmas fires
Last Christmas Eve North Yorkshire Fire attended four residential fires and also attended four residential fires on Christmas Day. They would love to make it none this year, as the last thing you want on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day is a visit from the fire brigade!
Group Manager Stuart Simpson says: “Christmas is a time for festive cheer with family and friends. But Christmas lights, candles and decorations means it is also a time to take extra care to keep our loved ones safe from fire. To ensure you have the merriest of Christmases, keep fire safety at the top of your list. Ensure you place candles in suitable holders and away from curtains, never leave cooking unattended and, of course, test your smoke alarms and buy new batteries for them if needed.
“The colder weather brings its own menaces too. Take care when using portable heaters or open fires to keep warm.”
Here are some simple tips from Fire Kills 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 in 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 be sure to avoid cooking whilst under the influence of alcohol. Always turn off kitchen appliances when you have finished cooking and ensure tea towels and oven gloves aren’t left on the hob.
- Never leave burning candles unattended. Keep candles out of the reach of children, and away from decorations, cards and wrapping paper.
- 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.
- 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, furniture and Christmas decorations and cards.
- Don’t overload sockets. Ensure only one plug per socket. 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 Christmas tree 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.
- Do something good this Christmas. 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 are at greater risk from fire.
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.