Click on the picture above for a PDF of the "Wishing you a safe and happy Christmas" leaflet.
29 November 2010
Statistics show that one in eight house fires start in December – so firefighters are urging people to be vigilant during the festive season.
Terry Ridgley, head of Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service’s community safety team, said: “Many people are unaware of the potential fire hazards and toxic threats that can lurk in fairy lights, candles and flammable Christmas decorations.
“Dry Christmas trees, decorations and wrapped presents are all extra fuel in the event of a fire breaking out in your home.
“There are also risks from unsafe electrical decorations, unattended candles and cooking while under the influence of alcohol.”
Terry said people vastly underestimated the deadly strength of toxic smoke and overestimated how long they would have to escape should a fire start.
He said: “The reality is that just two to three breaths of smoke in a fire can render a person unconscious.
“Christmas should be a time for celebration rather than tragedy, and for this reason I’m urging people to stay safe and be aware of the risk of fire.”
Terry’s top tips to stay safe from fire this Christmas are:
- Ensure you have a working smoke alarm installed on all levels of your home. Test your smoke alarms weekly and never remove batteries to power presents. Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service will carry out a free home safety check, fitting free smoke alarms here needed. Book one by ringing 01296 744477 or emailing email@example.com
- Never leave cooking unattended, and avoid cooking when you have been drinking alcohol. The majority of fires start in the kitchen, so this is a high risk area. Always turn off kitchen appliances when you have finished cooking.
- Never leave candles unattended. Keep decorations, cards and wrapping paper away from candles, fires, lights and heaters.
- 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).
- Always use an RCD (residual current device) on outdoor electrical equipment. This safety device, available in DIY stores, can save lives by instantly switching off the power if there is a fault.
- 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, such as freezers.
- Make sure cigarettes are extinguished properly and never smoke in bed. Put it out, right out.
- Check on older relatives and neighbours this Christmas to ensure their safety at this time of year.
- Finally, in the event of fire, get out, stay out and call 999.