Don’t let fire ruin you Christmas

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West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service is urging people to put fire safety at the top of their Christmas list this year.

During December last year there were 92 accidental fires in the home, with 32 people injured and two people losing their lives.

While fire safety is important all year round, the festive period can increase the chances of fire due to a number of factors such as increased alcohol intake, especially while cooking, the use of candles, Christmas lights and it’s the time of year when people dust off their old heaters to keep cosy and warm.

Firefighters are also calling on people to look out for their elderly relatives, friends and neighbours, who might be at increased risk of fire.

On the roads there is also a spike in road collisions. Last December, there were 79 RTCs – more than any other month of the year.

ACO Dave Walton, Director of Service Delivery, said: “Many people will be enjoying a festive tipple, but please remember than just a momentary lapse in concentration can have disastrous consequences. Don’t assume it will never happen to you. Working smoke alarms give you that vital time to escape, so make sure you test yours every week.

“This time of year people will be visiting their elderly relatives more than any other time of year. Why not take just five minutes to test their smoke alarms and check for any hazards around the home. This would be a gift that money can’t buy!

“We want everyone to have a very happy Christmas, so please celebrate safely.”

Detailed safety advice is available at www.westyorksfire.gov.uk and West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service will also be sending out festive safety advice via social media in the run up to Christmas. Follow @West_Yorks_FRS on Twitter and visit our Facebook site at www.facebook.com/westyorkshirefire

Here is some essential safety advice:

• Ensure you have working smoke alarms on all levels of your home. And why not test the smoke alarms of elderly relatives and neighbours, to ensure their safety, as they are at greater risk of fire.

•If you have family or friends staying over during Christmas, make sure everyone can get out in the event of fire. Have an escape plan everyone is aware of.

•Never leave cooking unattended. Avoid cooking while drinking alcohol. Always turn off appliances when you have finished cooking.

•Never leave burning candles unattended. Keep candles out of reach of children and away from decorations, cards, lights and heaters.

•Don’t overload sockets. Ensure only one plug per socket.

•Switch off fairly lights and unplug them before going to bed or leave the house. Check your lights conform to the British standard and are in good working order.

•Always use a residual current device on outdoor electrical equipment. It can save lives by instantly switching off power if there is a fault.

•NEVER drink and drive.