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Christmas safety

Christmas safety

Protect your loved ones from fire over the festive season

Byrnes family festive safety hazards scene
Can you spot the fire safety hazards in our Byrnes family festive scene?

This festive season, Kent Fire and Rescue Service would like people across Kent and Medway to have fun, but to make ‘family fire safety’ top of their Christmas lists.

For many people, like our very own Byrnes family, the festive period is an opportunity to spend more time at home, use candles and fairy lights and have a few drinks, but all of these activities can increase the risk of fire.

And while fire safety is important throughout the year, added distractions of Christmas make it especially important to be vigilant during the festive season

Have some fun with your family spotting all the hazards in our Byrnes family festive scene and avoid making the same mistakes in your home.

The Byrnes Family.jpg
Learn with the Byrnes family to keep your family safe

Use these tips to help you spot their mistakes, as you and your family enjoy prepare for a safe and happy Christmas and New Year:

Decorative lights

Fairy lights and Christmas tree lights don’t get used often and so need more care:

  • Always test lights before you switch them on.
  • Check that the fuse in the plug is the right size (see the box for the maximum size of fuse you should use).
  • Replace bulbs that have blown.
  • Don't leave decorative lights on when you go to bed or leave the house.
  • Don't let the bulbs touch anything that can burn easily, such as paper or fabrics.
  • Ensure you switch off fairy lights and unplug them before you go to bed, or before you leave the house. Check they conform to the British Standard (BS EN 60598) and are in good working order before use.

Christmas trees and decorations

  • Never leave burning candles unattended. Keep candles out of the reach of children, and away from decorations, cards and wrapping paper, fires, lights and heaters.
  • If you have a real Christmas tree, keep it watered regularly to prevent it drying out. If your tree catches fire, a watered tree will burn slower.
  • Keep tinsel, paper decorations and greeting cards away from heaters, lights, fireplaces and candles - see more candle and tea light safety advice.


  • Don’t overload sockets. Ensure only one plug per socket.  Always turn off electrical items when they are not in use unless they are designed to be left on, like freezers.
  • Always unplug electrical items after charging. Do not leave items on charge overnight or when you go out.
  • Always use an RCD (residual current device) on outdoor electrical equipment. This safety device can save lives by instantly switching off the power if there is a fault and can be found in any DIY store.

Smoke alarms

  • Ensure you have working smoke alarms installed on all levels of your home. It can give you the vital time you need to escape in a fire.
  • Test them regularly and never remove batteries!
  • Do something good this Christmas. Test the smoke alarms of someone you know who may need help, such as an older relative or neighbour to ensure their safety. They are at greater risk from fire. You could even give them a free home safety visit from Kent Fire and Rescue Service – to see if they qualify please call 0800 923 7000 or email your contact details to
  • Ensure you have working smoke alarms installed on all levels of your home. It can give you the vital time you need to escape in a fire.

Emergency plan



  • Put your cigarette out - right out.
  • Make sure your cigarette is fully extinguished and take care when under the influence of alcohol or tired. It’s very easy to fall asleep while your cigarette is still burning and start a fire.
  • More advice for smokers.


After Christmas

  • Get rid of the tree when it begins dropping needles.
  • Dried-out trees are a fire danger and should not be left in the home or garage, or placed outside against the home.
  • Check with your local community to find a recycling program.
  • Bring outdoor electrical lights inside after the holidays to prevent hazards and make them last longer.

A lot of useful advice for this time of year can be found on our Winter safety page.

Watch our 12 tips for Christmas video

From everyone at Kent Fire and Rescue Service - we wish you all a very safe and happy Christmas.

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