Fire brigade warn over festive dangers

Christmas tree fire.
Christmas tree fire.

Local fire-fighters have urged local people to make sure they are aware of the increased fire risks in the home associated with the Christmas period.

The warning has been issued after injuries sustained in accidental house fires shot up by 32% last Christmas in Northern Ireland. From December 19, 2014 to January 6, 2015, 37 people were injured in accidental house fires compared to 28 people the previous year.

Over that period fire crews attended 62 accidental house fires across Northern Ireland, compared to 47 the previous year.

Firefighters were able to rescue 12 people during these incidents but tragically one person lost their life last year.

Alan Walmsley, Assistant Chief Fire Officer said: “Christmas should be a time to increase vigilance with the increased number of fire hazards in the home at this time of year. It is essential that everyone is aware of the precautions to take to stay fire safe.

“Make sure that all Christmas lights conform to the British Standard and are turned off when leaving home.

“Never overload plug sockets and remember that a candle is a naked flame, so don’t leave them burning unattended or near decorations.

“As most fires start in the kitchen, make sure the cooker is never left unattended.

“It’s also an important time of year to remember our ‘STOP Fire’ check list: Smoke alarms fitted on each floor; Test them on a weekly basis; obvious dangers removed and plan your escape route. These easy to remember steps enable everyone to quickly decide what actions they need to take to help keep fire safe.”

The fire service has also urged people to check on elderly or vulnerable neighbours and provide them with assistance to remain safe. If their neighbours don’t have a working smoke alarm, a free Home Fire Safety Check can be arranged for them, the Fire Service has advised.