Stay safe as fire risk rises at Christmas

PUBLISHED: 16:13 14 December 2006 | UPDATED: 13:39 04 May 2010

From left, Darren Fox, Karl Jarvis, Paul Martindale, Bretney Mills and Billy McVey on the campaign trail

From left, Darren Fox, Karl Jarvis, Paul Martindale, Bretney Mills and Billy McVey on the campaign trail

MORE people die or are seriously injured from fires in their homes in Britain between Christmas and New Year than at any time, so fire-fighters from Ely are out in the city spreading awareness. They will be offering fire safety advice to Christmas shopp

MORE people die or are seriously injured from fires in their homes in Britain between Christmas and New Year than at any time, so fire-fighters from Ely are out in the city spreading awareness.

They will be offering fire safety advice to Christmas shoppers, urging people to make sure that they have fire alarms fitted in their homes and visiting shop owners and staff to give them advice on storing goods safely.

Community safety officer Julie Sandbrook said: "No one thinks they will be a victim of a fire, but it can easily happen. Candles, open fires, electric heaters, propped up Christmas cards, hanging decorations, trailing fairy light cable and greater alcohol consumption, can all significantly increase the risk of a fire starting.

"If a fire does break out, having a working smoke alarm will give you an early warning and enough time to get out the house and call the fire service.

"If you do have a smoke alarm, check it is working and leave the battery in the alarm. When attending fires at Christmas, fire-fighters often find the family did have a smoke alarm, but had taken the battery out to power a toy that had been given as a present."

She added: "Having a fire in your home is upsetting at any time of the year but at Christmas it is particularly distressing. We are reminding shoppers that we offer a free service where we will visit people in their home, offer fire prevention advice and fit a smoke alarm for free."

In keeping with the 12 days of Christmas theme, Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service offers its 12 fire safety messages of Christmas:

- Check your Christmas tree lights conform to the British Standard. Always use a residual current device (a safety device that can save lives by instantly switching off power) on outdoor electrical equipment.

- Never place candles near your Christmas tree or furnishings.

- Make sure your family and visitors staying for the festive period know what to do in an emergency. Make a fire escape plan.

- Decorations can burn easily - don't attach them to lights or heaters.

- Never overload electrical sockets. Take special care with Christmas lights. Always switch Christmas lights off and unplug them before going to bed.

- Celebrate Christmas and New Year safely. The risk of accidents, especially in the kitchen is greater after alcohol is consumed.

- Most fires start in the kitchen - never leave cooking unattended.

- 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.

- Make sure cigarettes and candles are completely extinguished before going to bed.

- Check the battery in your smoke alarm every week and use Christmas as a reminder to clean it and remove dust.

- Keep candles, lighters and matches out of the reach of children. Never leave burning candles unattended.

- Take the time to check on elderly relatives or neighbours this Christmas - make sure they are fire safety aware.

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