Enjoy Christmas safely urge firefighters

As preparations for Christmas get underway, firefighters from Avon Fire & Rescue Service (AF&RS) are reminding people to make sure they celebrate safely and reduce the risk of fire.

Christmas can be a busy time with all the preparations, a large meal to prepare and decorations, gifts and family to organise. But AF&RS wants to ensure people put fire safety at the top of their ‘to do’ list.

A short film showing just how quickly a fire involving fairy lights on a Christmas tree can take hold is featured on the AF&RS website. In less than a minute the room is filled with thick black smoke. To view the film visit http://www.avonfire.gov.uk/safety-advice/events-and-celebrations/christmas

Group Manager for Risk Reduction at AF&RS, Matt Peskett, said: “Fire safety is important all year round, but in December the extra distractions of Christmas make it even more important.

“We want everyone to have a happy and safe Christmas so would like to remind people to make sure they have working smoke alarms fitted on every level of their home and to check the batteries are working regularly.

“With many people having guests to stay we would also like people to make sure they have an escape route and that everyone in the house knows how to get out if there is a fire.

“A smoke alarm will activate at the first sign of fire and can give occupants vital extra minutes to escape the house, but only if it is working.

“One final Christmas message we have is to ask people to visit elderly relatives or neighbours and install or check their smoke alarms are working. It will take just a few minutes, but is one of the most caring things you could do for someone.”

Fire safety advice for the festive season

  • Ensure you have a working smoke alarm on every level of your home and that you check the batteries are working regularly. Only remove the batteries if you are changing them.
  • Plan and practice your escape route, making sure everyone staying in the house knows how to get out if there is a fire.
  • Visit the home of an elderly relative or neighbour and check they have a working smoke alarm.
  • Never leave cooking unattended. More than half of fires attended by AF&RS start in the kitchen, so avoid cooking while under the influence of alcohol and always switch of kitchen appliances when not in use.
  • Never leave candles burning unattended. Keep them away from curtains and furnishings and ensure tea lights are placed in the correct holders.
  • Take care when smoking and ensure all smoking materials are fully extinguished after use.
  • Always ensure all electrical items which don’t need to be left on are switched off after use, including fairy lights, mobile phones and laptop chargers. These can get very hot and start a fire.
  • If there is a fire, get out, stay out and dial 999.