With just over three weeks to go until Christmas, Humberside Fire and Rescue Service is asking residents to take a moment to consider fire safety ahead of the celebrations.
Putting up decorations is always the first job. Lights and baubles are usually stored in the loft or garage and have probably not moved since January!.
Untangling wires can be an annual test of skill and patience! Despite the frustration, it is important to ensure that lights have not been damaged in storage and that the wiring and plugs are still in a suitable condition after untangling. Check that there are no frayed electrics visible which could present a shock or fire hazard.
Cheap lights may not be manufactured to the highest standards, so ensure that they have the CE mark and are suitable for UK electrical sockets. Read the instructions carefully and use only the appropriate type of lights inside and outside your home.
Steve Duffield, Group Manager Public Safety at Humberside Fire and Rescue Service, said:
“People are decorating their home and planning their festivities. It is a busy time of year and this means fire safety is often pushed out of our minds. Many people will be cooking on a larger scale than usual and using candles more frequently. If distracted, the risk of fire related incidents can increase. We are asking people to take some simple steps to make sure that this Christmas is remembered for all the right reasons.”
There are a few simple things you can do at Christmas (and the rest of the year) to reduce the risk of fire:
• Don’t overload sockets with Christmas lights and ensure they are fully untangled before putting up and no frayed wires are showing near the plug
• Avoid cheap lights which may not be made to acceptable standards
• Turn off and unplug electrical appliances at night – including your Christmas tree and other decorative lights
• Avoid mixing chargers for electronic devices. Phones and tablets should be charged using the manufacturers’ leads they came with
• Turn heaters off and put up fire guards when you leave the house or go to bed
• Keep candles on a metal or ceramic base or saucer and well away from curtains, Christmas trees or presents
• Put cigarettes and candles out properly – never leave candles unattended
• Close internal doors – this will stop a fire from spreading should one break out
• Ensure that you have a working smoke alarm on each level of the house – this will give you valuable extra time to escape in the event of a fire
Obviously there seems to be greater activity in the kitchen at this time of year. Residents are being urged to follow a few simple steps to stay safe from cooking related fires:
• Simple distractions such as answering the phone can lead to a fire developing, so always remove food from the hob or turn it off if you are called away
• Take care if you’re wearing loose clothing as it can catch fire easily
• Don’t cook if you have been drinking alcohol or taken prescription drugs – you may get drowsy or lose concentration
• Turn saucepans so the handles don’t stick out over the edge of the hob or over another ring
• Double check that the cooker is switched off when you have finished cooking
• Make sure tea-towels aren’t hanging over the cooker and don’t put oven gloves on top of a hot cooker
• Keep the oven, hob and grill clean – built-up fat and bits of food can start a fire
• When possible, use a timer to remind you to turn off the cooker when finished
• Don’t leave young children unattended in the kitchen whilst there are things cooking on the hob
Follow these simple tips to ensure that you and your family have a safe and enjoyable Christmas.