People in Sefton are urged to stay safe at Christmas this year and be aware of festive hazards that can cause fires.
New figures revealed Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service attended ten accidental house fires across Merseyside on Christmas Day and Boxing Day last year, including two in Sefton.
In 2012, firefighters attended 12 accidental house fires on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, including four in Sefton.
In 2011, firefighters attended nine accidental house fires on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, including two in Sefton.
These fires were mainly caused by food cooking in the kitchen, candles burning or due to electricity supply.
Extra care should be taken when cooking Christmas dinner and preparing food over the festive season, as most accidental house fires start in the kitchen.
People should avoid cooking while under the influence of alcohol or when tired, should never leave food cooking unattended and should be careful not to fall asleep while the hob is on.
Wrapping paper and Christmas decorations should be kept away from lights, heaters and candles as they can easily catch fire.
Candles should never be placed near curtains, combustible materials or near the Christmas tree. They should be placed in a correct holder, never placed on the TV and should not be left burning unattended. They should also be kept away from children and pets.
Christmas lights should carry the British Standard Safety sign. They should be switched off before going to bed and before going out. People should not overload plug sockets and plugs should not exceed an adaptor’s current rating.
Incorrect use of heaters can also cause fires. Heaters should never be used to dry clothes and never placed near furnishings. They should be switched off after use. People should consider using a fire guard if they have an open fire.
More people may use electric blankets in winter and these should be switched off before going to sleep at night.
People should also never smoke in bed. Smokers should ensure they always use a proper ashtray that won’t tip over and that cigarettes are stubbed out properly.
Kevin Johnson, MF&RS Home Safety Manager, said: “People are advised to take extra care over the Christmas period. Simple safety measures can prevent a devastating fire in the home.
“I would also ask people to especially look out for their elderly neighbours and relatives at this time of year who may be particularly vulnerable to fire.
“A working smoke alarm can give those valuable seconds needed to escape a fire. Residents are asked to ensure they have a smoke alarm on each level of their home and to test them every week.”
In the event of a fire people should get out, stay out and call 999.
For free fire safety advice people can call Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service on 0800 731 5958 or go towww.merseyfire.gov.uk
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