Christmas Tree Lights Fire

A short film's been released by Oxfordshire's Fire and Rescue Service showing how a fire from Christmas tree lights can destroy a living room in under a minute.

Oxfordshire County Council's Fire and Rescue Service has released its specially adapted 12 days of Christmas safety tips for people to follow to ensure they are safe over the festive period.

Christmas is a special time for celebration, but the season comes with extra hazards in the home and on the roads. There is far more potential for a fire due to candles being lit, decorative lights being used and extra cooking in the home.

Follow the 12 days of Christmas safety tips:

1. Make sure you have a working smoke alarm. Test your smoke alarm weekly and never remove the batteries to power presents!

2. Don’t drink and drive. You are more likely to cause a serious road accident or even die, than a driver who hasn’t been drinking

3. Never leave cooking unattended and avoid cooking whilst drunk.  The majority of fires start in the in the kitchen so this is a high risk area. Always turn off kitchen appliances when you have finished cooking.

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

5. Make sure your switch off fairy lights and unplug them before you go to bed or leave the house. Check your Christmas tree lights carry the British Safety Standard sign.

6. Don’t over load sockets. Make sure there is 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.

7. Take care around open fire places.  Always use a British Standard fire guard and make sure embers are under control and properly put out before you go to bed or leave the house

8. Make sure cigarettes are put out properly and never smoke in bed, Put it out, right out.
9. Have an escape plan and make sure your family and visitors know how to escape in an emergency.
10. 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.

11. Check on elderly relatives and neighbours this Christmas to make sure they are safe at this time of year.
12. Always wear a seat belt and don’t speed it is better to be late than dead on time.

Don't drink and drive

Stuart Garner, Risk Reduction Manager at Oxfordshire County Council's Fire and Rescue Service, said: "This is the season to be socialising and partying. If you are out drinking, remove the question of driving from the equation - it’s not worth the risk. Book a taxi, catch the bus or train, walk home, stay overnight or, if you’re in a group, have a designated driver.

"Give your keys to someone you can trust. It's easy to think you're perfectly able to drive safely when you're not, remove the temptation before it's there.

"Most people are not aware how long it takes for alcohol to leave the system. You can still be over the drink drive limit the morning after, even if you feel fine. Drinking coffee, sleeping, or having a shower will not work. Time is the only way to get alcohol out of your system. Never drive if there’s even a slim chance you are still ‘under the influence.'"

Judith Heathcoat, Oxfordshire County Council's Cabinet Member for Safer and Stronger Communities, said:

"Christmas is such a lovely time of year and we all enjoy festive celebrations, but it's really important to remember to put your safety first. The 12 days of Christmas safety tips are very straight forward and easy to follow. With a greater risk of fires in the homes, and accidents on the road during the winter months, it is more important than ever to follow these guidelines."