Safety Hub

Christmas Safety

We know that Christmas might be a struggle for many, as the cost of living crisis starts to bite. Please take a few minutes to check out our seasonal safety tips, so you and your loved ones can celebrate safely.
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We know that Christmas might be a struggle for many people this year, as the cost of living crisis starts to bite.

Whether or not you're scaling back your festivities, please take a few minutes to check out our seasonal safety tips.

From all of us here at West Midlands Fire Service, we wish you a safe and very Merry Christmas.

Trees and Decorations
Candles
Cooking and smoke alarms
Toys and gadgets
Driving and road safety

Trees and decorations

If you’ve got a real Christmas tree, always keep it 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. Always remember to turn them off and make sure you close doors around your home.

If you've got several electronic Christmas decorations or ornaments, make sure you don't overload plug sockets or extension leads.

Make sure Christmas trees or other decorations don't create trip hazards or block your escape route in an emergency.

If you’d like more information on night-time routines and keeping safe, visit our plan your escape section.

An image of a white Christmas tree lit up with presents underneath

Candles

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.

Here are some other candle top tips:

  • keep them out of the reach of children and pets, and away from anywhere they might knock them over
  • place burning candles at least three inches apart so they don’t melt one another or create draughts that can cause the candles to flare
  • always use a sturdy, heat-resistant candle holder on a heat-resistant surface that’s big enough to contain drips and melted wax

Read more candle safety advice.

Two candles with stars on them next to Christmas baubles

Cooking

Accidental fires in the home often start in the kitchen but there are ways you can reduce the risk:

  • Don’t drink alcohol before or during cooking
  • never leave a cooker unattended when it’s in use
  • avoid trailing electrical leads and cables in the kitchen
  • take care if you flambé or flame the Christmas pud!

Read more on our kitchen safety page.

Smoke Alarms

Fit them, test them weekly and NEVER be tempted to remove the batteries to power toys and other presents.

Encourage your friends and family to test their smoke alarms regularly, especially if they’re elderly.

If you feel you or someone you know might benefit from a safe and well visit, especially if they are at higher risk, you can find out more and do an online check on our Safe and Well page.

For more information on smoke alarms, see our smoke alarms section

A man's hands cutting meat for a Christmas dinner

Toys, gadgets and registering

Presents!

They’re one of the best parts of Christmas, but with electronic gizmos and gadgets, it’s important to make sure you use them properly.

Always use the correct cables and chargers for electronic toys and gadgets.

Don’t be tempted to use that ‘old one that looks about the same’ because the shops are closed. It’s important to follow manufacturers' instructions and use the right ones.

Be certain that gadgets and toys carry the correct safety standards marks to ensure they are safe for you or your family.

Make sure batteries are safe and in good condition  – no taking them from your smoke alarm!

Register your new gadgets and toys

Don’t forget when you get new electrical toys, gadgets and gizmos that you should register them with the manufacturer. 

Then if there’s ever an issue or a recall, you’ll be the first to know! You can find most major manufacturers on our register your appliance page!
Register your appliances
A laptop, tablet and headphones next to each other

Driving safely

Drinking and being under the influence of drugs (both illegal and prescription) can affect your vision, coordination and judgement, resulting in slower reaction times and stopping distances.

If you’re planning to go out for a drink: order a taxi (in advance), use public transport or get a relative or friend to pick you up.

Remember: you might still be over the limit the morning after a night’s drinking.

Check the local and national weather forecasts and do your vehicle checks: water, fuel, oil, tyres, wipers, lights, anti-freeze and oil. Take your sat nav and/or road map, and your mobile phone – is it charged?

In icy and snowy conditions, make sure you’re equipped with warm clothes, food, boots and a torch. Take a spade, clear your windows and mirrors before you set out and carry a screen scraper and de-icer

Match your speed and braking distances to the driving conditions.

A car driving through snow with trees in the background
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