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Make fire safety part of your family's Christmas preparations

Make fire safety part of your family’s Christmas preparations

Keep them safe this Christmas

3 December 2014

Festive preparations are in full swing across Kent and Medway and many homes are beginning to look a lot like Christmas. However, there is one thing Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) is urging residents to make top of their festive list – ‘family fire safety’.

National fire statistics show that in December, 20 people a day are either killed or injured in accidental fires in the home in England[i]. Last winter (December 2013 - Feb 2014) there were around 160 accidental fires in homes in Kent and Medway – more than any other three month period that year.

And while fire safety is important throughout the year, the added distractions of Christmas make it especially important to be vigilant during the festive season. This is why KFRS is asking people to take extra care over the festive season to ensure that their families and loved ones are protected from fire.

Head of Community Safety, Lee Rose says: “Christmas is a time for celebration with family and friends; however there are lots of reasons to take extra care of our loved ones over the festive period. Simple things can have risks like Christmas tree lights that have not been switched on for a year, candles tend to be used more for decoration and there is lots of extra fuel to burn in the form of wrapping paper, decorations and cards. To ensure this Christmas is a happy one, we are asking people to keep fire safety at the top of their festive list. Simple tips like ensuring candles are placed in suitable holders and away from curtains, never leave cooking unattended and, of course, test smoke alarms.”

Lee added: “From everyone at Kent Fire and Rescue Service - we wish you all a very safe and happy Christmas.”

Here are some simple tips from KFRS to help you and your family enjoy preparing for Christmas and making your homes look festive.    

  • Make sure your family, and any visitors staying for the festive period, know what to do in an emergency. Tell them where you keep door and window keys so they can escape if a fire starts.          

  • 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.             
  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Never leave cooking unattended.  The majority of fires start in the kitchen so this is a high risk area.  Be sure to avoid cooking whilst under the influence of alcohol. Always turn off kitchen appliances when you have finished cooking.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 home@kent.fire.uk.org

  • In the event of a fire – get out, stay out and call 999 and ask for the fire service.

 


[i] Fire Statistics GB, 2011-12

 

 
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