Put fire safety at the top of your Christmas list

Posted 18/12/2012 14:10:36

With Christmas almost upon us and with people spending more time at home with their families, the risk of a fire in the home increases substantially.

On average North Wales Fire and Rescue Service attends between one to two fires within the home every day - but over the Christmas and the New Year period this rises to up to 5 fires in a day.

In December 2011, 47% of house fires started with a cooking appliance, contributing to over 80% of injuries during the month - these appliances included electric rings or hotplates, ovens and microwaves.

A further 36% of house fires were started by smoking related materials, other domestic appliances, matches & candles, and heating equipment.

"Please do not make this Christmas one you remember for all the wrong reasons," warned Gareth Griffiths, Senior Fire Safety Manager at North Wales Fire and Rescue Service.

"Fires in the home can be lethal - the threat posed must be taken seriously and we ask the public to work with us to reduce the likelihood of having a fire in their home.

"Why not call by elderly or vulnerable family, friends or neighbours in the run up to the festive season to help them keep as safe as possible - and put installing a smoke alarm in the home at the top of your Christmas list.

"Cold weather may also affect the battery in your smoke alarm - so remember to test  existing alarms once a week and contact us immediately if your alarm needs attention.

"We offer free home fire safety checks for all residents in North Waleswhere a member of the Service will visit your home, help formulate a safety escape plan, give tips and guidance on fire safety in the home, and if necessary, install a new smoke alarm free of charge. For a free home fire safety check, please call the 24 hour hotline on 0800 169 1234, visit www.nwales-fireservice.org.uk or e-mail cfs@nwales-fireservice.org.uk.

Christmas Fire Safety tips

-          Ensure all plugs are fitted with the correct fuses, that the plugs are wired correctly and that the wiring is not worn or damaged in any way

-          Do not overload electrical sockets

-          Always switch off and unplug Christmas lights and other non essential electrical appliances when they are not being used and before going out or to bed

-          Never leave cooking unattended - always turn off the cooker when you leave the kitchen

-          Do not cook when intoxicated - alcohol can seriously affect your judgement

-          Do not use decorative lights designed for use indoors outside, even if they appear sheltered from the weather

-          Never leave burning candles unattended or placed near the Christmas tree, furniture or curtains

-          Decorations burn very easily - never attach them to lights or heaters

-          Check that any cigarettes have been completely stubbed out

-          Keep Christmas cards, stockings, presents, decorations and discarded wrapping paper well away from open fireplaces and heaters

-          Keep real Christmas trees away from fires and other heat sources as they are highly combustible, particularly as they dry out

-          Plan an escape route in the event of a fire and make sure all guests know where the door and window keys are kept

-          Remember - smoke alarms save lives. They detect smoke at the earliest stages of a fire, providing extra valuable time to escape

-          Ensure all smoke alarms are working - do not take the battery out of them for use in new Christmas presents.

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