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Video highlights importance of Christmas Fire Safety

A shocking video released by Essex County Fire and Rescue highlights why it’s so important to be fire safe around Christmas trees and decorations.

The video shows that once alight a Christmas tree will become a fireball in a just a few seconds.

It has been released as people across the county prepare to put up trees and decorations in their homes this weekend.

Station Officer Andre Turner, Home Fire Safety, said: “Both Christmas trees and Christmas decorations can be highly flammable and that is why it’s so important to be fire safe at this time of year

“Once it was alight it was truly terrifying how quickly the fire took hold of the tree. It went from being a Christmas tree to an inferno in no time at all. Imagine that happening in your living room. It would be a devastating, and potentially life threatening, fire.

“As you can see decorations melt and drops of burning plastic fall onto presents and the carpet quickly spreading the fire.

“This video graphically demonstrates why we advise people to make sure that candles do not go anywhere near the Christmas tree or other decorations, why it’s important to switch off and unplug Christmas lights and why you should never attach decorations to lights ore heaters.”

The best way to stay safe this Christmas is to follow out 12 festive fire safety tips:

- 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).
- 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 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 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

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