The Service has 12 top tips for the 12 days of Christmas:
• Ensure you have a working smoke alarm installed on all levels of your home. A working alarm can give you the vital time needed to escape from a fire. Test your smoke alarms regularly and never remove batteries to power presents!
• Check on older relatives and neighbours this Christmas to ensure their safety as they are at greater risk from fire.
• Never leave cooking unattended. The majority of fires start in the kitchen so this is a high risk area. Avoid cooking whilst under the influence of alcohol and always turn off kitchen appliances when you have finished cooking.
• Never leave candles unattended. Keep candles out of the reach of children, and away from decorations, cards and wrapping paper, fires, lights and heaters.
• Put your cigarette out, right out. Make sure your cigarette is fully extinguished and take care when drinking or tired. It’s very easy to fall asleep while your cigarette is still burning and set furniture alight.
• Don’t overload sockets – ensure only one plug per socket. Always turn off plugs when they are not in use, except those that are designed to be left on, like freezers.
• Ensure you switch off Christmas lights and unplug them before you go to bed or leave the house.
• Check your Christmas tree lights conform to the British Standard (BS EN 60598).
• Don’t hang decorations from lamps or heaters as they could catch fire.
• Always use an RCD (residual current device) on electrical equipment. This safety device can save lives by instantly switching off the power if there is a fault and can be found in any DIY store.
• Fireworks – if you have fireworks, follow the firework code
• Make sure that everyone in your home knows what to do in a fire – in the event of fire: get out, stay out and call 999
County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service wish everyone a safe and Merry Christmas.