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Putting People First

Wishing everyone a safe and happy Christmas

Christmas and New Year is a time to relax and enjoy being at home with family and friends – but it’s also a time when extra vigilance is vital to ensure you are safe in your home. Sadly, just last month we saw the tragic loss of two lives within the space of a week following fires in properties in Holt and Mancot. We are all too aware that the number of incidents we attend over Christmas can rise significantly and that’s why we urge people to be extra careful during the festivities. 

Smoke alarms – the difference between life and death

Figures show that many residents in Wales still do not have a smoke alarm – it’s easy to see that when combined with an increased number of incidents during the festive period this is a potential recipe for disaster.

Our firefighters have seen first-hand how a working smoke alarm could save you in the event of a fire – it could really mean the difference between life and death. In our experience, people who lose their lives in house fires are often sleeping at the time. A smoke alarm will wake you up and give you that vital extra time to make your escape and to call for help.

Think about the risks in your home

To prevent fires from starting in the first place, it’s so important that people don’t overload their electrics or leave their Christmas lights on when going out or heading to bed.

Like many, you probably have a variety of electrical devices on your Christmas list this year – but please be conscious of overloading. Don’t charge items overnight and use chargers from a reputable source rather than cheap aftermarket chargers.

We all need to consider the possible consequences of our actions. Celebrate safely and be mindful of the dangers of cooking whilst having a drink – time and time again we witness how alcohol and cooking simply do not mix safely.

I would also ask everyone to consider elderly or vulnerable family members or neighbours, and ensure they get their homes checked too. The early warning provided by a smoke alarm can allow vital minutes to help them escape unharmed.

Visit our Facebook page www.facebook.com/northwalesfireservice to take part in our Christmas competition and help us spread the word on festive safety.

Here are my twelve tips for festive fire safety:

  1. Check your Christmas tree lights conform to the British Standard. Always use an RCD on outdoor electrical equipment (safety device that can save lives by instantly switching off the power).
  2. Never place candles near your Christmas tree or furnishings. Don’t leave them burning unattended.
  3. Make sure your family and visitors staying for the festive period know what to do in an emergency. Practice a fire escape plan.
  4. Decorations can burn easily – don’t attach them to lights or heaters.
  5. Switch off electrical appliances when not in use, unless they’re designed to stay on.
  6. Take special care with Christmas lights. Always switch off and unplug Christmas lights before you go to bed. Christmas is a time when we use more electrical items such as lights and decorations as well games etc – don’t overload sockets and plugs but use correctly fused multi gang safety leads. Please see the amp calculator on www.nwales-fireserfireservice / keeping you safe / looking after the electrics or follow this link /looking-after-the-electrics.aspx?lang=en
  7. Most fires start in the kitchen – never leave cooking unattended. Celebrate Christmas and New Year safely. The risk of accidents, especially in the kitchen, is greater after alcohol is consumed.
  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. 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 reach of children.
  12. Take the time to check on elderly relatives and neighbours this Christmas – make sure they are fire safe as well as checking on their well-being.

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