Fire safety: The Twelve Days of Christmas

It's the beginning of December and Christmas is fast approaching! It's important to enjoy the holidays but we also need to be especially vigilant.

Government figures reveal there are more deaths from accidental house fires during Christmas than the equivalent period for any other time of year in England.

Children and the elderly are particularly vulnerable to accidental fires in the home, which is why we are reminding people to take extra care over the festive period to ensure that their families and loved ones have a safe and merry one.

Everyone has heard of the 12 days of Christmas, right? Well here is the health & safety version!

On the 1st day of Christmas

Make sure you test your smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detectors.

Ensure you have a working smoke alarm installed on all levels of your home.

Test your smoke alarms weekly and never remove batteries to power presents!

On the 2nd day of Christmas

Check your Christmas tree lights; make sure they conform to a British Standard (BS EN 60598). In addition check you have the correct fuse and look for any sign of damage or overheating.

Always switch them off and unplug them when you go to bed.

On the 3rd day of Christmas

If you have a real tree, be vigilant of any pets that may be tempted to chew the branches. The sharp pine needles can be hazardous and cause extreme health problems. If you have a fake tree with snow flocked branches, be aware that this can also be hazardous to pets.

On the 4th day of Christmas

Make a fire escape plan for your family and guests. Make sure everyone knows what to do. And don't forget, your reaction times will be slower after alcohol.

On the 5th day of Christmas

Never overload electrical sockets - this is something many people are guilty of over the festive period! Again, if you are using decorative lights outside your house make sure they conform to the British Standard.

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 D.I.Y. store.

Always turn off plugs when they are not in use, except those that are designed to be left on, like freezers.

On the 6th day of Christmas

Never leave cooking unattended and avoid cooking whilst drunk.

The majority of fires start in the kitchen so this is a high risk area.

Always turn off kitchen appliances when you have finished cooking.

On the 7th day of Christmas

If you are planning to have fireworks as part of your celebrations, keep to the firework safety code.

On the 8th day of Christmas

Make sure that candles are properly extinguished before you go to bed.

Never leave candles unattended. Keep decorations, cards and wrapping paper away from candles, fires, lights and heaters.

Fires caused by cigarettes kill more people than any other cause.

Make sure cigarettes are extinguished properly and never smoke in bed.

Put it out, right out.

On the 9th day of Christmas

Trees both artificial and real are highly flammable. Special fire safety precautions need to be taken when keeping a live tree in the house.

Pack the bottom of the tree with wet sand, this will act as a stable base and prevent the tree from drying out.

A burning tree can rapidly fill a room with fire and deadly gases.

Never place candles or any other naked flame near a Christmas tree.

As your real tree begins to dry out it becomes highly flammable.

On the 10th day of Christmas

Keep matches and lighters well away from children. If you want to light a Menorah with your children, be sure to supervise them at all times.

On the 11th day of Christmas

Make sure all those newly acquired presents are stored away from ignition sources.

If a fire does start they are highly flammable and give off intense amounts of heat.

On the 12th day of Christmas

Celebrate Christmas and New Year safely.

Remember, the risk of accidents (especially in the kitchen) is greater after alcohol is consumed.

Check on older relatives and neighbors this Christmas to ensure their safety at this time of year.

Christmas is a time for having fun with family and friends. But, it is also a time when extra fire hazards are introduced to the home such as fairy lights, trees and decorations.

Many accidents occur simple because our guard is down and our spirits are high. Have a great time this holiday season and be safe.