Shropshire fire chiefs have something to sing about – and it’s all about fire safety this Christmas.
Chief Fire Officer John Redmond and Assistant Chief Fire Officer Louise McKenzie joined voices with Fire Authority member, Councillor Keith Roberts, to resonate the 12 tips for festive fire safety.
They helped launch Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service’s annual safety campaign aimed at reducing the risk of fires in the home at Christmas and New Year.
“This is the time of the year when we unfortunately tend to get the most serious incidents,” said Mr Redmond.
“People get together, they are less vigilant and forget to take the sensible steps to keep everyone safe.”
Louise McKenzie said: “Our message is a serious one. We are asking everyone to carry out the fire safety checklist.”
Keith Roberts added: “The kitchen is where most fires start and at Christmas the mixture of alcohol and cooking can lead to tragedy.”
The brigade’s fire prevention team will be out and about in the county to talk to householders about the “essential” steps which everyone should take to stay safe.
They will also be at Telford Shopping Centre on December 17 and 18 to talk to shoppers as it was revealed that the chances of a house fire greatly increase over the Christmas and New Year holiday.
Statistics show people are twice as likely to die in an accidental house fire if they do not have a working smoke alarm.
Most accidental fires (54%) happen in the kitchen as a result of cooking and the main reason alarms do not activate when a fire happens, is missing or flat batteries.
Just two to three breaths of toxic smoke in a house fire can render a person unconscious.
The 12 days of Christmas checklist:
*Check your Christmas tree lights conform to the British Standard. Always use a safety device that switches off power to faulty outdoor electrical equipment.
*If you have an open fire, ensure it is swept regularly.
*Make sure your family and visitors know what to do in an emergency. Make a fire escape plan.
*Don’t attach decorations to lights or heaters – they burn easily.
*Don’t overload electrical sockets and take special care with Christmas lights which should always be switched off and unplugged before you go to bed.
*Celebrate Christmas and New Year safely as the risk of accidents, especially in the kitchen, is increased as people drink more alcohol.
*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.
*Most fires start in the kitchen - never leave a cooker, pan or grill, unattended and don’t cook if tired or drunk.
*Make sure cigarettes are completely out before you go to bed.
*Test smoke alarms weekly, clean them and remove dust with a vacuum.
*Keep candles, lighters and matches out of reach of children and never leave candles burning unattended.
*Take the time to check on elderly relatives and neighbours to make sure they are safe.
For more information contact Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service on 01743 260200 or visit www.shropshirefire.gov.uk