Fire service plea to stay safe this Christmas

West Sussex Fire and Rescue
West Sussex Fire and Rescue

Christmas dinner, wrapping presents, decorating your home - there’s lots to think about this Christmas. But one thing firefighters are urging West Sussex residents to put top of their lists this year is fire safety.

Christmas is a time for gathering together to celebrate with family and friends, but it is also a time when the risk of having a fire in the home increases.

In December last year West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service was called to 63 accidental house fires across the county, including five on Christmas Eve and four on Christmas Day.

Jackie Boyle, Community Fire Safety Officer for West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service, said: “Christmas is a busy time for many of us and safety is often the last thing on people’s mind. Unfortunately, it is also a time when people are at greater risk of having a fire.

“There may be more people in your home than usual and some may be indulging in a festive drink or two. When you add this to all the other traditional trappings of Christmas - trees, festive lighting, wrapping paper, candles and of course lots of cooking the risk of a fire increases.

“We want everyone’s festive season to stay just that - festive. So we’ve got our own 12 Days of Christmas that we’re asking to help reduce the risk of fire in the home and help people enjoy a fire safe festive period.”

West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service’s 12 Days of Christmas:

1. Check your Christmas tree lights conform to the British Standard. Always use an RCD on outdoor electrical equipment (a safety device that can save lives by instantly switching off the power)

2. Candle safety - never place candles near your Christmas tree or furnishings and never leave candles unattended

3. Make sure your family and any guests staying know what to do in the event of a fire - make an escape plan

4. Decorations can burn easily - don’t attach them to lights or heaters

5. Don’t overload electrical sockets and take special care with Christmas lights

Watch the short Fire Kills Christmas Tree video by clicking this link

6. Celebrate Christmas and New Year safely. The risk of accidents, especially in the kitchen, is greater after alcohol is consumed

7. Most fires start in the kitchen - never leave cooking unattended

8. If you are planning to celebrate with fireworks, store them in a metal box, read the instructions, never go back to a lit firework and keep a bucket of water nearby

9. Make sure cigarettes are completely extinguished

10. Test It Tuesday! Check the battery in your smoke alarm every week and use Christmas as a reminder to clean it and remove dust

11. Keep candles, lighters and matches out of the reach of children

12. Take the time to check on elderly relatives and neighbours this Christmas - make sure they are fire safe.

Would you or someone you know benefit from a Home Fire Safety Check? Call 0845 872 9719 or log onto www.westsussex.gov.uk/fire to find out if you are eligible.