Don’t Let Fire Ruin Festive Cheer This Christmas

18th December 2018
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Cooking Christmas dinner, wrapping presents, decorating your home – there’s so much to think about this Christmas. But Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service and the national fire safety campaign are urging Merseyside residents to put fire safety at the top of their Christmas to-do lists this year.

While fire safety is vital throughout the year, the extra distractions of Christmas make it especially important to be vigilant during the festive season. This is why we are asking people to take extra care at this time to ensure that their families and loved ones are protected from fire.

Mark Thomas, MFRS Group Manager for Prevention, said: “Christmas should be a time for fun and festive cheer with family and friends. But fairy lights, candles and decorations mean it is also a time when we need to take extra care to keep safe from fire in the home.”

To ensure you have a safe, merry Christmas, check that fairy lights meet safety standards and are switched off before bedtime; make sure candles are placed in suitable holders and away from curtains; never leave cooking unattended and, of course, test smoke alarms.

Mark added: “The colder weather brings other dangers too. Take care when using portable heaters or open fires to keep warm, look after older family members and neighbours; maybe test their smoke alarms while you’re dropping round those Christmas presents. We can all make a difference in making sure that Christmas is a time for happiness and not a time for tragedy.”

If you live in Merseyside, you can request a free Home Fire Safety Check visit, during which fire safety advice will be given. Many residents on Merseyside will be eligible for the fitting of free smoke alarms, particularly those over the age of 65 and anyone who is referred to us by one of our partner agencies.

Call 0800 731 5958 for further information or to request a visit.

From everyone at Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service, we wish you all a very happy and safe Christmas.

Here are some simple tips from the national fire safety 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. Working alarms 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.

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.

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 and furniture.

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 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.

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.