Christmas is just around the corner and very soon our homes will be transformed into twinkling grottoes filled with candles, decorations, trees and tinsel. However whilst this is a recipe for festive fun, it’s also a recipe for fire.
According to the latest CLG fire figures for 2008 there were 33,000 accidental house fires, 10% of which occurred around the Christmas period. It’s for this reason that national retailer Focus DIY and First Alert are urging homeowners to take more care over the festive period with a step by step safety guide to ensure you have a fire free home.
- Make sure family and visitors staying for the festive period know about the dangers of fire and what to do in an emergency. In the event of a fire, you may have less than two minutes to leave the house whilst toxic smoke can kill small children in under a minute. Make sure everyone in the house knows that speed is of the essence in escaping a house fire and practice your escape plan
- Install at least one smoke alarm on every floor of your property and test alarms weekly. Use Christmas as a reminder to clean alarms and remove dust. Fully approved First Alert smoke alarms are available from your local FOCUS store for as little as £4.99
- Don’t leave candles unattended and keep them away from flammable materials such as Christmas trees, decorations and soft furnishings
- Extinguish all cigarettes carefully in ashtrays and never smoke in bed
- Don’t leave electrical appliances on standby as they can be a source of fire. Take special care with Christmas lights. Always switch off and unplug them before you go to bed
- Be aware of fire risks in the kitchen. More than half of accidental fires at home are started by cooking[ii] – never leave cooking unattended
- Don’t overload sockets – try to keep one plug per socket
- Never leave clothes or any other materials near a heater or bed side light
- Celebrate Christmas and New Year safely. The risk of accidents, especially in the kitchen, is greater after alcohol is consumed.
- In the event of a fire, get out, stay out and call 999! Never try to tackle the fire yourself
Speaking of the initiative to safeguard homes from fires, First Alert’s sales and marketing manager Duncan Spall said: “Christmas is a time of celebration; however the combination of alcohol, candles, packed plug sockets and busy kitchens can be deadly. It’s important to remember that most fires are preventable so taking time out at the beginning of December to undertake simple safety steps will help prevent a fire in your home over the festive period.”