Faulty fairy lights and burnt turkey dinners have sparked a Christmas safety warning after it was revealed house fires in Surrey doubled last December.
There were 56 fires in homes throughout the county last December, which is double the monthly average of just 28. A total of 18 of these were linked to cooking. So far this month there have been 32 house fires in Surrey.
The alarming statistics have prompted a warning from Surrey Fire and Rescue Service for people to take extra care this year, or risk their Christmas going up in flames.
Top tips include always having working smoking alarms in the home, never leaving cooking or candles unattended and never overload electrical sockets.
Fire officer Paul Otway said: “Just last week a set of faulty outdoor Christmas lights caught fire at a home in Godalming and caused a lot of damage. In the past we’ve also seen Christmas trees catch fire and turkey dinners go up in flames.
“Christmas is a risky time because there are a lot more things in the home that can catch fire. Fairy lights, Christmas trees and candles all need to be treated carefully.
“I would particularly ask Christmas cooks to take extra care because there can be a lot of distractions with friends and family around. We get called to a number of fires each year where cooking has been left unattended.”
Top tips to stay safe this festive season:
* Have a working smoke alarm installed on all levels of your home and make sure it works.
* Check on older relatives and neighbours this Christmas.
* Never leave cooking unattended. Switch off appliances when you have finished.
* Never leave candles unattended. Keep them out of the reach of children and away from decorations, cards and wrapping paper, lights and heaters.
* Put out cigarettes. Take extra care doing this when drunk or tired.
* 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.
* Always 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).
* Always use an residual current device (RCD) 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.
* Make sure that everyone in your homes know what to do if there is a fire.