News release text
Firefighters are warning residents to be careful with Christmas tree lights after a Sheerness family had a lucky escape at the weekend.
Kent Fire and Rescue Service received a call at 7.30pm on Saturday to Trinity Road after the householder reported a small blaze.
One fire engine was sent to the three storey townhouse and Sheppey Crew Manager Paul Ross explains what happened: “We believe that some clothes had been left on or near the Christmas tree lights in the lounge on the first floor and these had started to smoulder before catching light. Fortunately the family, who were on another floor of the house, were alerted by a smoke alarm and found the small fire when they went to investigate.
“The mum stamped on the clothes and threw them outside but clearly this could have been very serious if the fire had developed any further before the family became aware of it and it’s a timely reminder to everyone to make sure Christmas tree lights are kept away from anything that can burn easily such as fabric and paper.”
The clothes and lights were destroyed. Crews fitted another smoke alarm in the lounge of the property before giving home safety advice to the family and visiting neighbouring properties. They also warn residents to keep doors closed at night as this could contain a fire and allow extra time to escape.
Fairy lights and Christmas tree lights don’t get used very often, so you should make sure they are in good working order before using them:
· check that lights aren't damaged or broken and look out for loose or worn wires
· check that the fuse in the plug is the right size – the lights' packaging should tell you the maximum size of fuse you should use
· don't overload sockets
· replace any bulbs that blow
· switch the lights off when you go to bed or leave the house
· don’t let the bulbs touch anything that can burn easily, like paper or fabrics and other Christmas tree decorations
· If you are unsure about the safety of last year's Christmas lights, don't use them.
You can read more tips on seasonal electrical safety on the Electrical Safety Council website http://www.esc.org.uk/