Have a safe and happy Christmas

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service is appealing for people to celebrate safely if they want to avoid their Christmas going up in smoke.

Christmas and New Year is a time for everyone to enjoy themselves, but firefighters are asking people to be sensible with the Christmas spirit – especially when cooking! Last year, firefighters attended 28 alcohol-related fires in the home during December and January, and 105 fires caused by cooking.

And according to new figures released by the Department of Communities and Local Government*, the rate of serious injuries is four times higher when drug or alcohol impairment is a contributory factor.

A number of other hazards present themselves during the festive period, such as increased use of candles and fairy lights.

Don’t forget, prevention of fire is the best defence, but a working smoke alarm gives vital warning. West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service will again be promoting smoke alarms through its ‘Kiss of Life’ campaign, with the slogan ‘Make sure your smoke alarm works – it won’t leave you breathless’.

Ian Bitcon, Area Manager responsible for fire safety, said: “We want everyone to have a fantastic Christmas, which is why we don’t want it to be ruined by fire.

“We always see an increase in the number of cooking related fires and fires where alcohol or drugs are a contributory factor. Please don’t assume it won’t happen to you. If you have family and friends staying over during the festive period, please ensure everyone knows their escape route. Finally, the best gift you could give your family this Christmas is the gift of life – make sure your smoke alarms work! Remember, you are more than four times more likely to die in a fire if you don’t have a working smoke alarm.”

The public should follow this advice:

Smoke alarms

•Fit a smoke alarm on each level of your home

•Test your alarms weekly

•Special alarms are available for those who are deaf or hard of hearing

•Never remove batteries of disconnect smoke alarms

 Candles

You should make sure that candles are secured in a proper holder, and away from materials that may catch fire, like curtains. It’s also very important that candles are put out completely when you leave the room or go to bed.

Cooking

•Don’t be distracted by anything or leave cooking unattended

•Never leave young children alone in the kitchen

•Don’t cook under the influence of alcohol or drugs

•Take care when wearing loose clothing, as it can easily catch fire

Christmas lights

•Ensure your lights conform to British standards or the European EC mark

•Ensure lights are fitted with an approved plug with a 3 amp fuse or a mains transformer

•Always remove the plug from the mains before changing bulbs

•Don’t let the bulbs touch anything that can burn easily

•Don’t overload sockets

•Lights outdoors should be weatherproof

•Always use a Residual Circuit Device with Christmas lights

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service will be Tweeting safety advice in the run-up to Christmas using the hash tag #celebratesafer. Follow us at @West_Yorks_FRS.

 ENDS

 

*For full DCLG report on ‘The effects of drugs and alcohol and casualty rates’ visit

http://www.info4local.gov.uk/documents/publications/2265693