Fire Safety Advice for Christmas

Christmas dinner, wrapping presents, decorating your home – there’s lots to think about this Christmas. But one thing Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service (DWFRS) is urging residents to put top of their Christmas lists this year is fire safety.

While fire safety is vital throughout the year, the extra distractions of Christmas make it especially important to be vigilant during the festive season. This is why DWFRS is asking people to take extra care over the festive season to ensure that their families and loved ones are protected from fire.

To help keep everybody safe this Christmas, DWFRS has put together the following tips.

  • Ensure you have working smoke alarms installed on all levels of your home. Working alarms can give you the vital time needed to escape in a fire. Test your smoke alarms regularly and never remove batteries!
  • Never leave cooking unattended.  The majority of fires start in the kitchen so this is a high risk area.  Many of us enjoy a merry tipple over the festive season but be sure to avoid cooking whilst under the influence of alcohol. Always turn off kitchen appliances when you have finished cooking.
  • Never leave burning candles unattended. Keep candles out of the reach of children, and away from decorations, cards and wrapping paper, fires, lights and heaters.
  • Put your cigarette out, right out.  Make sure your cigarette is fully extinguished and take care when under the influence of alcohol or tired. It’s very easy to fall asleep while your cigarette is still burning and set furniture alight.
  • Never use heaters to dry clothes.  Heaters can start fires when things are placed too close to them.  Keep them well away from curtains, clothing and furniture.
  • Don’t overload sockets. Ensure only one plug per socket.  Always turn off plugs when they are not in use, except those that are designed to be left on, like freezers.
  • Ensure you switch off fairy lights and unplug them before you go to bed, or leave the house. Check your Christmas tree lights conform to the British Standard (BS EN 60598) and are in good working order before use.
  • Always use an RCD (residual current device) on outdoor electrical equipment. This safety device can save lives by instantly switching off the power if there is a fault and can be found in any DIY store.
  • Do something good this Christmas. Test the smoke alarms of someone you know who may need help such as an older relative or neighbour to ensure their safety as they are at greater risk from fire.
  • Make sure that everyone in your home knows what to do in a fire – in the event of fire you should get out, stay out and call 999


For more information on maintaining fire safety in your home over Christmas please visit www.dwfire.org.uk/christmas-safety or to see if you are eligible for a FREE Safe and Well visit, please call 0800 038 2323.

Businesses are also being reminded to keep their premises safe from fire in the run-up to Christmas.

DWFRS wants all local businesses to check their fire risk assessments and make changes to their processes if necessary.

Next week, fire safety inspectors in Wiltshire will be visiting retail premises in town centres and out-of-town sites such as garden centres to look at stock levels, fire risk assessments and escape routes. Similar inspections have been underway in the Swindon area for a couple of weeks and are continuing into December.

Among the risks that are being highlighted to businesses are:

  • Safe storage of additional stock, not blocking thoroughfares or doors.
  • Safe disposal of additional packaging, such as cardboard.
  • Maintaining safe escape routes and fire exits.
  • Ensuring that temporary staff fully understand what they should do in the event of a fire.
  • Keeping decorations away from alarm sensors and anything that generates heat.


A full range of advice on fire risk assessments, and the requirements of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order on commercial premises, can be found at www.dwfire.org.uk/your-business

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