Fire safety tips for a safer Christmas

PUBLISHED: 16:37 17 December 2008 | UPDATED: 11:56 17 June 2010

FIRE safety should be top of Sidmouth resident s Christmas list, urges Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service.

FIRE safety should be top of Sidmouth resident's Christmas list, urges Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service.

With Christmas dinner, present wrapping and tree decorating distracting us, those living in Devon should be aware of fire risks in the home, says the authority.

Government figures reveal that in December, 25 people a day are either killed or injured in accidental house fires in England.

In 2006 there were 3,530 accidental house fires in December - more than any other month of the year.

This is why Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service are reminding people to take extra care over the festive season to ensure that their families and loved ones are protected from fire.

Home safety manager David Hodge said: "Christmas is a time for having fun with family and friends; however it is also a time when extra fire hazards are introduced into the home such as fairy lights, candles and decorations."

He said people should buy British Standard fairy lights, place candles in holders away from curtains, and never leave cooking unattended.

"Following simple guides will make sure everyone is safe to enjoy the festivities."

Christmas tree and fairy lights that are not often used should be checked to ensure they are in good working order.

Check the fuse in the plug is the right size, replace bulbs that blow, don't leave lights on when you go to bed or leave the house and don't let bulbs touch anything that can burn easily, such as paper or fabrics.

Other Christmas advice to consider:

* Check on elderly relatives and neighbours - make sure they are fire safe.

* Celebrate safely. The risk of accidents is greater after alcohol is consumed.

* Make sure elderly relatives and neighbours have a working smoke alarm. If they are hard of hearing; vibrating alarms are available from various specialist retailers.

* Make sure cigarettes are completely out.

* Check smoke alarm batteries and use Christmas as a reminder to clean the alarm.

* Always test your smoke alarm weekly, vacuum monthly and change the battery yearly.

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service carry out free home safety visits to help keep you safe from fire. For more information on fire safety in the home go to www.direct.gov.uk/firekills. For a free home safety visit call (0800) 73 11 822.

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