Firefighters warn Hartlepool householders to take extra care over Christmas

Christmas tree on fire.
Christmas tree on fire.

Residents are being urged to take extra care with cooking, candles and electrical equipment during the festive period.

Cleveland Fire Brigade is appealing to people to avoid the heartache of a fire.

Last December there were 16 accidental house fires in the brigade area and the top causes were cooking and electrical.

Phil Lancaster, Director of Community Protection at Cleveland Fire Brigade, said: “We want people to enjoy all the festivities of Christmas time, but we are also urging them to take extra care at a time of year when there are increased dangers around the home.

“Overloading sockets, charging mobiles and laptops overnight, leaving cooking unattended, keeping candles near curtains or tinsel and drying clothes on heaters, can all spark disaster and lead to a Christmas going up in flames. This is a magical time of the year and we want to keep it that way.

“Just following a few safe and sensible safety tips can make it a happy Christmas for everyone.”

Top tips for a safe Christmas

Cooking:

Stand by your pan – never leave cooking unattended

Don’t drink and cook – order a takeaway or eat cold food if drinking

Food left too long to reheat in a microwave can easily set on fire

Chuck out your chip pan – it could save your life

Keep your cooker clean – a build-up of fat can and does cause fires

Electricals:

Don’t overload plug sockets – extension leads and adaptors have a limit to how many amps they can take. Keep one plug per socket

Make sure electricals such as hair straighteners, curling tongs and irons are unplugged before leaving the house

Don’t leave laptops, tablets and mobile phones charging overnight or when you go out

Never charge a mobile phone under your pillow while you sleep.

Only buy electricals from reputable suppliers and ensure they carry the British or European Safety Mark

Switch decorative lights off when you go to bed or leave the house

Replace any bulbs that blow

Don’t let the bulbs touch anything that can burn easily, like paper or fabrics and other Christmas tree decorations

Regularly check for worn or frayed wires – always ensure cables are secured properly to the plug before plugging in anything

Candles:

Always place your candles and tealights on a suitable fire resistant candleholder

Keep candles, tealights, matches and lighters out of reach of children and pets

Position candles and tealights away from curtains, furniture and anything else that can catch fire

Never put tealights on plastic surfaces such as baths

Never leave candles and tealights unattended – if you go out or to bed, make sure they are properly out