Essex County Fire and Rescue Service


Have a safe and happy Christmas

It’s a little known fact that Christmas is the time of year when there are more injuries than ever caused by fire in the home.

As the decorations go up so the risks of fire in the home, thousands of people will be putting candles and other highly flammable decorations up all around their homes and many will be running the risk of becoming part of the December fire death toll – which accounts 10% of all fire deaths.

But by following 12 simple steps everyone can make sure that their families are safe and sound throughout the Christmas period to ring in the new year.

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

- Never place candles near your Christmas tree or furnishings. Don't leave them burning unattended.

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

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

- Switch off electrical appliances when not in use, unless they're designed to stay on. Take special care with Christmas lights. Always switch off and unplug Christmas lights before you go to bed.

- Celebrate Christmas and New Year safely. The risk of accidents, especially in the kitchen, is greater when 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 all cigarettes and cigars are completely extinguished.

- 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 reach of children.

- Take the time to check on elderly relatives and neighbours this Christmas - make sure they are fire safe.

This shocking video shows how quickly a Christmas tree on fire spreads to engulf an entire room.


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