West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS) is urging people to take extra care at home and on the roads this Christmas.
With large gatherings restricted because of the Coronavirus pandemic, many more families than usual are expected to spend the festive period at home.
But those who are heading out are being urged to ‘make it none for the road’ – and to heed police warnings about getting behind the wheel the morning after drinking at home.
WMFS will be sharing a range of seasonal fire safety tips across its social media channels and website – covering everything from candle safety, through to safe cooking and not being tempted to use smoke alarm batteries for new toys and gadgets.
Pete Wilson, West Midlands Fire Service’s Group Manager for Prevention, said: “An accidental fire at home or being injured on the road is the last thing any of us needs after such a tough year. As always, our firefighters and fire control staff will be available 24/7 if you need them.
“However, by following our festive safety tips and sticking to national restrictions on how many people can meet up, we hope people across the West Midlands can stay safe and able to look forward to a much happier 2021.
“Many people have put up their Christmas trees and decorations early, for some much-needed cheer. If you’ve got a real Christmas tree, remember to keep it watered. Fairy lights and a dry tree are a real fire risk.
“It’s all too easy for safety to slip down the Christmas list when there’s so much to do. That’s why we’re asking people to take just a few minutes to read our tips on our website and social media, plan ahead and stay as safe as possible.”
WMFS is also appealing to drivers not to drink-or drug-drive.
Research by Drinkaware shows some people have significantly increased their alcohol consumption at home during the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns.
The road safety charity, Brake, says that drivers who are only just over the legal limit are still six times more likely to be involved in a fatal collision than someone who has drunk nothing.
Added Pete Wilson: “Please don’t be tempted to drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and give your system ample time to recover if you’re drinking at home. So many people make the mistake of thinking they’ve ‘slept it off’, when they’re still over the legal limit.”
Check out WMFS’s festive safety tips at www.wmfs.net/safety/christmas/ and follow @WestMidsFire on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Our tips for a safe and happy Christmas:
- keep real Christmas trees watered – they can become a fire risk if they dry out – and keep the water away from lights and cables
- make sure your Christmas lights are in good condition. If you’re replacing old ones, LED sets are the safer option
- don’t leave Christmas lights or powered decorations switched on when you go out or to bed
- make it ‘none for the road’ and remember that you could still be over the legal drink-drive limit the morning after the night before
- pause before you plug! Avoid overloading sockets and extension cables
- LED candles don’t get hot, so there’s much less risk of fire. If you must use real candles, never leave them unattended and always keep them away from flammable items including Christmas decorations and curtains
- test your smoke alarms weekly and never be tempted to remove the batteries – even for a short time – to use in toys and electrical gifts
- follow manufacturers’ guidelines and only use the chargers and cables that come with your gadgets and electrical presents
- don’t drink alcohol before or during cooking, and never leave a cooker unattended when it’s in use.