Fire service tips for a crisis free Christmas

Paul Riley, Oxfordshire County Council's Fire and Rescue Home and Community Safety Co-ordinator said:

The festive season is a special time for celebration and should not end in tragedy because of the extra hazards that are present during the festive period.

It can be very easy to get distracted by family and friends, especially when cooking at this time of year. I would strongly urge you to never leave cooking unattended and to remember to turn off cookers and hobs when you have finished cooking.

The potential added influence of alcohol consumption means that it’s even more important to stay alert while cooking and entertaining over this period.

The use of candles, Christmas trees, decorations and fairy lights can also increase your homes fire risk. Never leave candles unattended and remember to put them out before you leave the house or go to bed. Keep decorations, card and wrapping paper away from candles, fires, lights and heaters.

Don’t over load plug sockets. Make sure there is only one plug per socket. Avoid the temptation of having a large amount of decorative Christmas lights all powered from the same supply socket or overloaded extension adapters. Always turn off plugs when they are not in use and make sure you switch off fairy lights and unplug them before you go to bed or leave the house.”

Other top tips

  • make sure you have a working smoke alarms
  • complete our online home fire risk check to find out what your fire risks are and how you can make you and your family safer
  • have an escape plan - make sure your family and visitors know how to escape in an emergency

Christmas parties and New Year celebrations make the festive period a very sociable time of year. If you are out and about partying or visiting family and friends leave your car keys at home and don’t drink and drive, book a taxi, catch a bus or train, walk home, stay overnight or if you’re out in a group have a designated driver. Never accept a lift from a driver that has been drinking alcohol.

Mick Clarke, Oxfordshire County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service Road Safety Manager said:

“If you are traveling to family or friends to celebrate Christmas or New Year please allow extra time for your journey, drive for the conditions and don’t speed.  Take regular breaks and if possible share the driving on long journeys.

“Don’t get caught out the next day. You may not be aware of how long it takes for alcohol to leave your system and may still be over the drink drive limit the next morning, even if you feel fine. Drinking coffee, sleeping, or having a shower don’t work. Time is the only way to get alcohol out of your system.

“Over the Christmas and New Year period plan your journey and make sure you and your car are prepared in advance:”

Other top tips

  • take extra care when packing your car and secure your parcels and pets - loose objects can become missiles in a crash
  • plan your journey - before you set off check your vehicle’s tyre pressure and tread depth, the 20p test is a good way of doing this. Make sure your lights work, top up your screen wash and make sure your wipers and oil levels are okay
  • drive for the conditions – it takes longer to brake on wet and icy roads, slow down, give yourself time to react – allow plenty of room between you and the car in front


Notes to editors:

  • This advice is part of Oxfordshire County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service’s 365alive initiative.


Fire Kills film

Watch the short Fire Kills Christmas Tree video at http://youtu.be/hMtjGfr0tYs





Firefighters from Kidlington and our Road Safety Education Team will be at Sainsbury’s in Kidlington on the 16th December from 10am to 1pm.


They will be raising awareness of the dangers of drinking and driving and still being over the limit the following day.


Thames Valley Roads Policing are joining us to promote their #It’sNotWorthTheRisk Campaign.