AF&RS encourages communities to stay safe over the festive season

With Christmas Day only a few weeks’ away and many seasonal preparations having already begun, Avon Fire & Rescue Service (AF&RS) are reminding people to make sure they celebrate safely and reduce the risk of fire. 

People will once again be engaging in the festive merriment of putting up decorations, preparing meals, wrapping gifts and lighting candles and AF&RS are issuing some advice for how to ensure this is done as safely as possible.

This year the Service have also been encouraging local people to ‘Give the Gift of Kindness’; an initiative set up by Action for Happiness, who have produced a kindness calendar with a suggested gift of kindness for each day of December.

Group Manager for Risk Reduction at AF&RS, Stephen Quinton, said: “This year has been a really tough one for so many people across our local communities as a result of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.  I don’t believe there is anyone that has been unaffected by the effects of the virus in some shape or another.

“Despite this festive period being a bit different this year, we know our local communities will be really looking forward to celebrating at home.  We want to therefore remind people of the importance of fire safety in the home over the coming weeks and while we have the extra distractions of Christmas on our minds.

“We ask that people use this as an opportunity to make sure they have working smoke alarms, not to buy cheap or fake electrical products and never leave burning candles unattended.  We want everyone to have an enjoyable time this season and in a way that is safe for all.

“One final Christmas message we have is to consider giving the gift of kindness and call an elderly relative or neighbour, near or far, to say hello, have a chat and ask them how they are.  You may only have a few minutes, but it is one of the kindest and most caring things you could do for someone.”

Follow our advice to ensure your Christmas is safe and happy:

  • Check your Christmas tree lights carry the British Safety Standard sign.
  • Always switch your lights off and unplug them before you go to bed.
  • Never place candles near your Christmas tree or materials than can light easily and don’t leave burning candles unattended.
  • Ensure you have a working smoke alarm on every level of your home and that you check the batteries are working regularly.
  • Most fires start in the kitchen, avoid leaving a cooker unattended.
  • Make sure cigarettes are put our properly.
  • Decorations can burn easily, so don’t attach them to lights or heaters.
  • Take care around open fireplaces, as clothes may catch fire.
  • Never overload electrical sockets.
  • Take time to check on elderly relatives or neighbours as they are at great risk from fire.

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