Press release

Residents urged to stay fire safe this Christmas

Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service is urging residents to put fire safety at the top of their Christmas list this year.


Fire safety is vital throughout the year, but the extra distractions of Christmas make it especially important to be vigilant. Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service, in line with the national Fire Kills campaign, is asking people to take extra care over the festive period to ensure their families and loved ones are protected.

Andrew Lowes, Station Manager for Prevention, said: “Christmas can be the time for relaxing, spending time with family and friends and maybe even overindulging. But fairy lights, candles and decorations mean it is also a time to take extra care to keep our loved ones safe from fire.

“To ensure you have the merriest of Christmases, keep fire safety at the top of your list. Ensure you place candles in suitable holders and away from Christmas cards, decorations, or anything else that may catch alight.  Never leave cooking unattended and, of course, test your smoke alarms.

“The colder weather brings its own menaces too.  Take care when using portable heaters or open fires to keep warm.”

Cumbria’s Deputy Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, Mike Johnson, said: “The festive period is a time for celebration, but it is important that we all remain vigilant to reduce the risk of fires in our homes.

“Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service are providing information and advice on how to keep ourselves safe over Christmas and New Year and I would encourage everyone to take the time to read these tips.

“No one wants Christmas to be ruined by a fire – please stay safe and enjoy your Christmas.”

Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service and Fire Kills are issuing the following advice this festive period:

  • Ensure you have working smoke alarms installed on all levels of your home. Working alarms can give you the vital time needed to escape in a fire. Test your smoke alarms regularly and never remove batteries.
  • Never leave cooking unattended.  The majority of fires start in the kitchen so this is a high-risk area.  Many of us enjoy a merry tipple over the festive season but be sure to avoid cooking whilst under the influence of alcohol. Always turn off kitchen appliances when you have finished cooking.
  • Never leave burning candles unattended. Keep candles out of the reach of children, and away from decorations, cards and wrapping paper, fires, lights and heaters.
  • Put your cigarette out, right out.  Make sure your cigarette is fully extinguished and take care when under the influence of alcohol or tired. It’s very easy to fall asleep while your cigarette is still burning and set furniture and bedding alight.
  • Never use heaters to dry clothes.  Heaters can start fires when things are placed too close to them.  Keep them well away from decorations, curtains, clothing and furniture.
  • Don’t overload sockets. Ensure 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.
  • Ensure you switch off fairy lights and unplug them before you go to bed or leave the house. Check your Christmas tree lights conform to the British Standard (BS EN 60598) and are in good working order before use.
  • Always use an RCD (residual current device) on outdoor electrical equipment, including Christmas lights and decorations. 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.
  • Make sure that everyone in your home knows what to do in a fire and have an escape plan for the family/household agreed and understood by everyone in the house – in the event of fire you should get out, stay out and call 999

The service is also issuing daily safety advice on its social media channels @CumbriaFire throughout the festive period.