Cheshire firefighters wish everyone a happy and safe Christmas at home and on the road

Santa climbing into a fire engine

Christmas is a time for families and friends to get together, for fairy lights, candles and decorations, and firefighters are urging people to put fire and road safety at the top of their Christmas to-do-list to help keep everyone safe.

Crews are asking people not to leave cooking unattended and to switch off plugs, chargers and Christmas lights if no one is home or if the household is asleep.

This advice comes after there were 46 accidental fires in homes across Cheshire, Halton and Warrington from 1 December 2017 to 11 January 2018.

The most common room where fires start is, perhaps unsurprisingly, the kitchen. 50% of all the accidental fires attended by firefighters in Cheshire around the Christmas period last year started in the kitchen. The cooker was the most common cause of a fire followed by grill/toaster fires.

35% of the accidental fires crews attended were caused by human factors such as people being distracted or who had fallen asleep.
Nick Evans, Head of Prevention, said: “We want everyone to celebrate safely and take fire safety seriously this Christmas. Many of the things we enjoy over the Christmas period, such as the fairy lights, candles and decorations, can all be fire hazards when proper care is not taken.

“We also need to be mindful that leaving cooking unattended can be one fire hazard that could be prevented, as could using the correct charging devices for items such as phones, e-cigs and torches.”

Here’s some simple advice to stay safe in the home:

  • Keep your ovens and grill pans clean and free from grease and fat build up and keep tea towels away from cooker hobs.

  • Make sure your family and visitors have an escape plan

  • Don't overload electrical sockets and switch Christmas lights off and unplug them before you go to bed

  • The risk of accidents, especially in the kitchen, is greater after alcohol is consumed

  • Most fires start in the kitchen - never leave cooking unattended 

  • If you smoke, make sure cigarettes are completely extinguished before you go to bed

  • Check the battery in your smoke alarm - and remember to clean it and remove dust. 

  • Keep candles, lighters and matches out of reach of children. Never leave burning candles unattended

Nick added: “Also, at this time of year, it’s important to check in on elderly relatives and neighbours. Please make sure that they are safe and have working smoke alarms. Also just check that they are not placing items such as chairs or clothing too close to heat sources which could ignite.”

The message that firefighters want to get out to road users is, quite simply, don’t drink and drive. Drink driving destroys families and ruins lives and when people are planning a festive night out, they should book a taxi or make it none for the road.

It’s also important to make sure cars are prepared for the colder weather so there will be winter road safety tips shared to keep drivers and others safe.

Date published: Tue, 27 Nov 2018 12:57:46 GMT

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Santa climbing into a fire engine