Stay safe this ChristmasPosted
With Christmas lights being switched on across the region and many people planning to start hanging their Christmas decorations this weekend, North Wales Fire and Rescue Service is urging residents to follow their simple tips to keep everyone safe to enjoy the festivities.
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.
Gary Brandrick, Senior Fire Safety Manager for North Wales Fire and Rescue Service, said: "The build up to Christmas and New Year can be a time to relax and enjoy being with family and friends in the party atmosphere - but extra vigilance is vital to prevent a fire that could easily devastate the family home with the loss of presents and valuables, seriously injure or even worse kill you or a loved one."
North Wales Fire and Rescue Service is urging people to stay safe and protect their homes from fire by following twelve tips for festive fire safety:
1. Check your Christmas tree lights conform to the British Standard. Always use an RCD on outdoor electrical equipment (safety device that can save lives by instantly switching off the power).
2. Never place candles near your Christmas tree or furnishings. Don't leave them burning unattended.
3. Make sure your family and visitors staying for the festive period know what to do in an emergency. Practice a fire escape plan.
4. Decorations can burn easily - Don't attach them to lights or heaters.
5. Switch off electrical appliances when not in use, unless they're designed to stay on.
6. Take special care with Christmas lights. Always switch off and unplug Christmas lights before you go to bed. Christmas is a time when we use more electrical items such as lights and decorations as well games etc - don't overload sockets and plugs but use correctly fused multi gang safety leads. Please see the amp calculator on www.nwales-fireserfireservice / keeping you safe / looking after the electrics or follow this link /looking-after-the-electrics.aspx?lang=en
7. Most fires start in the kitchen - never leave cooking unattended. Celebrate Christmas and New Year safely. The risk of accidents, especially in the kitchen, is greater after alcohol is consumed.
8. If you are planning to celebrate with fireworks, store them in a metal box, read the instructions, never go back to a lit firework and keep a bucket of water nearby.
9. Make sure cigarettes are completely extinguished.
10. Check the battery in your smoke alarm every week and use Christmas as a reminder to clean it and remove dust.
11. Keep candles, lighters and matches out of reach of children.
12. Take the time to check on elderly relatives and neighbours this Christmas - make sure they are fire safe as well as checking on their well-being.
Gary added: "Everyone likes to enjoy themselves over the holiday period, and we're just asking them to keep safety in mind while celebrating. I'd also like to remind residents about the dangers of cooking after drinking alcohol - cooking and drinking just don't mix.
"We all need to consider the possible consequences of our actions and think safe to stay safe."
For more advice on fire safety and for the opportunity to have free smoke alarms fitted in your home, please contact North Wales Fire and Rescue Service for a free home fire safety check.
To register, please call our free 24 hour hotline on 0800 169 1234 or visit www.nwales-fireservice.org.uk or text 88365, ensuring you prefix your message with the word HFSC.