Think about fire safety over the Christmas period

Christmas is a time for celebrations, with many families and friends coming together to enjoy the festivities. But fairy lights, candles and decorations mean it is also a time to take extra care to keep loved ones safe from fire.

We know a lot of you will be beginning to put up your Christmas decorations over the next few weeks (if you haven’t already!) so want to share some key fire safety messages and advice for the festive season.

Special fire safety precautions need to be taken when keeping a real tree in the house. Always buy your tree from a reputable retailer to ensure the freshness and quality. Don’t place your tree close to a heat source, including a fireplace, heat vent or candles. The heat will dry out the tree, causing it to be more easily ignited by heat, flame or sparks. Also, don’t put your tree up in a position that could compromise your escape route.

Make sure you unplug fairy lights or other electrical Christmas decorations when you leave the house or go to bed. Check lights are in good working order and replace any bulbs that have blown. If you need to plug more than one appliance into the electrical socket, use a multi-socket adaptor which is fitted with a fuse and has surge protection.

Remember decorations made of light tissue paper or cardboard can burn easily. Don’t attach them to lights or heaters or immediately above or around a fireplace. Keep them away from candles.

Lots of us use candles to help decorate the house or give the place a cosy feel. However, candles do pose a significant fire risk. Make sure that when in use, candles are secured in a proper holder and away from materials that may catch fire – like curtains, Christmas trees and other decorations. Children and pets should not be left alone with lit candles. Please put candles out when you leave the room, and make sure they’re put out completely at night. A great and much safer alternative would be LED candles.

Year-on-year, the festive and New Year period sees a peak in deaths and injuries resulting from house fires. We offer a free service that can help protect those people most at risk. Many of us know a friend, relative or neighbour, often someone living alone, who could be vulnerable from fire.

Why not do a Christmas good deed and test the smoke alarms of someone you know who may need help, such as an older relative or neighbour, to ensure their safety, as they are at greater risk from fire. The simple act of sharing a cuppa tea and a mince pie with them could also help them feel less lonely and isolated, if they are by themselves.

They may be eligible for a Safe and Well, which is a free home fire safety visit, tailored to an individual’s needs that can support members of our community to help protect them and their home from fire. To find out more visit: Safe and Well (