News release text
Christmas dinner, wrapping presents and decorating your home – there’s lots to think about this Christmas. But one thing Kent Fire and Rescue Service and the Fire Kills campaign are urging residents to put top of their Christmas lists this year is fire safety.
Fire statistics show that in December, 20 people a day are either killed or injured in accidental fires in the home in England*. In Kent last December, one person was killed and another 11 were injured in house fires. Of 54 house fires attended by KFRS during that month (a slight decrease on previous years), the main causes were in the kitchen.
Although fire safety is important at every time of year, the extra distractions of Christmas make it especially important to be vigilant during the festive season. This is why Kent Fire and Rescue Service is reminding 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, Stuart Skilton, says: “Christmas is a time for festive cheer with family and friends. But cooking up a feast and decorating your home with fairy lights, candles and decorations means it is also a time to take extra care to keep our family and loved ones are safe from fire.”
To ensure you have the merriest of Christmases, keep fire safety at the top of your list. Ensure you place candles in suitable holders and away from curtains, and never leave cooking unattended and of course, test your smoke alarms.
KFRS is supporting the national Fire Kills campaign which has provided some top tips to help you celebrate safely this festive season:
• Ensure you have a working smoke alarm installed on all levels of your home. A working alarm can give you the vital time needed to escape in a fire. Test your smoke alarms regularly and never remove batteries to power presents!
• Check on older relatives and neighbours this Christmas to ensure their safety as they are at greater risk from fire.
• Never leave cooking unattended. The majority of fires start in the kitchen so this is a high risk area. Avoid cooking whilst under the influence of alcohol and always turn off kitchen appliances when you have finished cooking.
• 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.
• Put your cigarette out, right out. Make sure your cigarette is fully extinguished and take care when drunk or tired. It’s very easy to fall asleep while your cigarette is still burning and set furniture alight.
• Don’t overload sockets – ensure only one plug per socket. Always turn off plugs when they are not in use, except those that are designed to be left on, like freezers.
• Ensure you switch off fairy lights and unplug them before you go to bed, or leave the house. Check your Christmas tree lights conform to the British Standard (BS EN 60598).
• 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.
• Make sure that everyone in your home knows what to do in a fire – in the event of fire: get out, stay out and call 999
For further information contact KFRS on 0800 923 7000 or visit www.3breaths.info.
Visit the Fire Kills campaign’s Facebook page www.facebook.com/firekills or watch the Fire Kills YouTube video at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hMtjGfr0tYs
*Fire Statistics GB, 2011-12
**Last December, KFRS attended 54 accidental dwelling fires (ADFs). This compares with 61 in 2011, 75 in 2010, and 74 in 2009.
The main causes of ADFs in Kent during December 2012 were: Cooking appliance (igniting foodstuffs) 15; Heating equipment 8; Cooking appliance (igniting non food) 7; Lights 4.