The Wokingham Paper

The 12 ways of Christmas: fire service’s top festive tips to stay safe

advent candles
Picture: Gerhard Gellinger from Pixabay

THE FIRE brigade is calling on Wokingham Paper readers to enjoy their Christmas, but to do so safely. 

Although fire safety is important year-round, Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service (RBFRS) says that the festive season brings extra fire hazards such as open fires, decorations and candles. 

To help, it has issued a series of simple tips it calls the #12DaysOfChristmas fire safety advice:

  1. Check your Christmas tree lights carry the British Safety Standard sign
  2. Never place candles near your Christmas tree or materials that can catch light easily
  3. Test your smoke alarms weekly – these can provide a vital early warning in case of a fire
  4. Never leave cooking unattended, or cook when you’ve been drinking alcohol
  5. Make sure that all guests are aware of the escape routes in your home
  6. Never attach decorations to lights or heaters, they can catch fire easily
  7. Take care around open fireplaces as clothing can catch fire. Keep children away from open fires
  8. Take time to check on elderly friends and relatives this Christmas, as they may be at a greater risk of fire
  9. Make sure you have a working smoke alarm on every level of your home
  10. Switch off and unplug fairy lights before leaving the house or going to bed.
  11. Drive for the conditions. In wet weather stopping distances will be at least double those required for stopping on dry roads
  12. Don’t drink and drive. If you are out drinking, remove the question of driving from the equation – it’s not worth the risk. Book a taxi, catch the bus or get a lift from a designated driver.

Tony Deacon, area manager service delivery (prevention and protection) for RBFRS, said: “Christmas is an excellent time of year for spending time with friends and family, but can also bring potential fire hazards. You can reduce the chances of a fire in your home by making sure you’re aware of the risks and following our advice.

“With the weather also getting colder, we’d like to remind residents to be cautious on the roads. The best way for us to deal with road traffic accidents is to prevent them from happening in the first place. You can help us do this by driving for the conditions and keeping your distance from the car in front.”

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