Statistics reveal that accidental dwelling fires increase in December and Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service has launched a Fire Safe at Christmas campaign to help keep people safe in their homes over the festive period.
From the beginning of April 2010 to the end of November 2012 there were 3,081 accidental fires in people’s houses or flats on Merseyside. Of those, 338 people were injured and 12 people died.
Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service is reminding everyone that some of their favourite festive traditions such as cooking Christmas dinner, decorating the home and drinking alcohol could have the potential to leave your celebrations in ruin.
The distractions of a crowded house and celebrations can often result in festive cooking being left unattended. The added influence of alcohol means that it's even more important to stay alert while preparing the Christmas dinner.
And while no Christmas party would be complete without a few decorations, the fact is that dry Christmas trees, flammable decorations and stray wrapping paper can all act as extra fuel for a fire sparked by overheated sockets, faulty fairy lights, unattended candles or carelessly discarded cigarettes.
A recent survey by fire-safe insulation manufacturer Rockwool revealed that more than one in eight people (13%) admitted to leaving their Christmas tree lights plugged in when out of the house, and a further 7% owned up to leaving burning candles unattended in their home.
A Christmas video from the Fire Kills campaign (as shown below) illustrates in graphic detail just how fast a fire caused by faulty decorations can take hold and emphasises the vital importance of planning an escape route. Make sure your guests know how to get out, stay out and call 999.
MFRS's Community Prevention Team state: "The hustle and bustle of Christmas preparations can often push fire safety out of our minds. But in reality, the start of festive celebrations bring a whole cocktail of fire risks into the home – from the distractions of a crowded house while cooking and the slower reaction times that result from alcohol consumption, to the potential dangers of overloaded plug sockets, flammable decorations and unattended candles. Christmas is a time for celebrating with family and friends, and we want to keep it that way. By being aware of the risks and making a few simple checks you can ensure that you and your loved ones can celebrate in safety."