Christmas safety advice issued by Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service

Residents have been warned about the dangers of drink/drugs driving, and the risks of house fires in a Christmas safety campaign from Oxfordshire County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service. 

Many road crashes happen because drivers lose control, particularly on bends or in wet or icy conditions. The safety advice is to drive for the road conditions and give time to react by reducing speed. The difference of a few miles per hour could mean the difference between life and death.

Drinking alcohol, or taking drugs and driving puts all road users in danger. The safest option is not to drink alcohol. Other safe alternatives include taking a taxi, bus or train, or walking home.

Councillor Judith Heathcoat, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Safety, said: “If you cause a collision, it can result in life-changing injuries to you and to anyone else involved. You will also carry the terrible guilt and for what? For the sake of a lunchtime drink, a phone call, or saving a bit of time? It really isn’t worth the risk.”

Andy Ford, Road Safety Manager at Oxfordshire County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Oxfordshire has more rural roads than most counties. And Oxford city centre more cyclists per head of population than most other towns and cities. This means drivers must be alert, drive sensibly, safely and share the road, from the moment they turn the ignition key.

“With most people staying at home or with family this year, remember you may drink more that you realise, so it is even more important to remember that in the morning you may still be affected by alcohol in your system. Make sure you leave enough time the next day before you drive.

“This might be a Christmas safety campaign, but it should also be every driver’s new year’s resolution to make sure they never take a risk when in charge of their vehicle.”

Further information about driving safely is available at www.365alive.co.uk/fatalfour

    In recent years, excessive alcohol consumption has also been a major contributor to fires and fire-related casualties. With the increased likelihood of many residents having a tipple and cooking across the festive period, they are being reminded to be sensible and to stay alert.

    Home fire safety tips include:

    • Don’t cook after consuming alcohol and never leave cooking unattended.
    • Never place candles near the Christmas tree or close to materials that can catch fire easily.
    • Keep candles, lighters and matches out of children’s reach. Never leave lit candles unattended.
    • Never overload electrical sockets. Always switch Christmas lights off and unplug them before going to bed.
    • Check that Christmas tree lights carry this British Safety Standard sign.
    • Decorations can burn easily – so don’t attach them to lights or heaters.
    • Take time to check on older relatives and neighbours this Christmas as they are potentially at greater risk from fire. Remember to follow COVID-19 social distancing guidance.
    • Make sure family and visitors know how to escape in an emergency.
    • Make sure the property has enough smoke alarms; and that they are tested regularly.