Firefighters urge Chinese community to make sure the Year of the Dragon doesn’t start with fire


Chinese dragonWith hundreds of Chinese New Year celebrations being held this weekend, Avon Fire & Rescue Service (AF&RS) is urging people to take steps to ensure the celebrations don’t turn to tragedy.

More than 50% of all fires attended by AF&RS start in the kitchen and often involve cooking with oil or cooking left unattended.

Many members of the Chinese community will be welcoming the Year of the Dragon on Monday 23 January with a special family meal, so AF&RS is offering some advice to help reduce the risk of fire breaking out.

AF&RS Community Safety Officer, Watch Manager, Lee Wright, said: “There are large numbers of people from the Chinese community living within the Avon area and we know many of them will be celebrating the New Year by having a meal with their friends and family.

As cooking is our biggest cause of fire we’d like to offer some advice to those taking part in celebrations to help them reduce the risk of fire in their home.

As well as following our advice we would urge everyone to ensure they have a working smoke alarm in their home and that they check the battery is working at least once a week. If a fire does break out the smoke alarm will alert the occupants and give them vital extra minutes to escape.

Cooking safely tips

  • Never fill a pan more than one third full of fat or oil
  • Never leave cooking unattended
  • Never put food in a pan if the oil begins to smoke. Turn off the heat and leave the oil to cool, otherwise it could catch fire
  • Never wear loose clothing near to cooking materials, as it could catch fire causing severe burns
  • Keep tea towels well away from cooking appliances, as they could catch fire
  • Clean hobs regularly to prevent a build up of fat which can catch fire
  • Cooking and alcohol is a recipe for disaster so leave the drinking until afterwards

Many Chinese New Year celebrations may also include the use of Chinese lanterns, although Avon Fire & Rescue Service strongly discourages their use.

However, if anyone using the lanterns is asked to consider the local environment and intended flight path before launching them. 

Using Chinese lanterns safely:

  • Lanterns should be used by responsible adults only
  • Adults should not be under the influence of alcohol or any substance that could affect their level of responsibility
  • Water should be on hand in case the lanterns catch fire
  • The launch area should be kept clear of combustible materials
  • Damaged lanterns should not be used
  • Ensure sufficient clearance to avoid obstacles such as trees, power lines or buildings
  • Avoid launching near roads, especially major roads or motorways
  • Avoid standing crops
  • Do not launch within five miles of an airport
  • Do not launch in wind speeds in excess of five mph
  • Check the wind direction before launch

You can view more ssafety tips on our safety pages.