Essex County Fire and Rescue Service


Protect your home from fire this Christmas

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service is asking Essex residents to take extra care in the kitchen this year, after last December saw a rise in kitchen fires.


Throughout December 2020, the Service was called on average to more than four house fires a day, and kitchen fires were found to be the most common cause.


Statistics show faulty wiring and candles were the second and third most common cause of house fires last December. 


Home Safety Operations Manager, Kieron Moir, said “Our Crews and Control team will be working as normal to keep Essex safe over the Christmas period, but we’re urging residents to play their part to prevent fires from happening.


“During the festive season, many people will drink and cook more. This can be a recipe for disaster. With many changes and distractions in the home we don’t want your festive celebrations to end in misery. 


“Most house fires can be avoided, and the best way to do this is to take some time to read and follow our safety advice. A five-minute read could save your home and your Christmas. And as always, our number one piece of advice is to test your smoke alarms - they could save your family’s lives.”


Essex County Fire and Rescue Service’s main winter safety advice:


  • Never leave cooking unattended, and avoid leaving children in the kitchen alone when cooking
  • Keep tea towels and cloths away from the cooker and hob and double-check the cooker is off when you’ve finished cooking.
  • If hot oil sets alight never throw water or a damp tea towel on it. If it’s safe to do so, turn off the hob and leave it to cool. Call 999.
  • Check any decorations are in good working order and conform to British Standards.
  • Don’t overload electrical sockets, and switch off and unplug decorations before you leave the house or go to bed.
  • Make sure visitors know what to do in an emergency – there can often be extra items in your house when people stay, so reassess your escape plan and talk them through it.
  • Use official chargers and never cover batteries when they are charging - avoid charging batteries overnight or while you are out of the house.
  • If you are using candles, put them in a proper holder, keep them away from anything flammable. Never leave them unattended and blow them out each time you need to leave the room. Better still, swap your wax candle for a “flameless” one.
  • Make sure you have a working smoke alarm on every level of your home and test them regularly.
  • Take the time to check on elderly relatives and neighbours, particularly in cold weather.

If you do discover a fire in your home, get out, stay out and call 999.


ECFRS would like to wish all our Essex residents and communities a safe and happy festive period.


To read more about how you can stay safe this winter, visit: 

Page last updated 15 December, 2021

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