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Flintshire fire chief warns people to stay safe at Christmas time

A FIRE chief is hoping Flintshire residents have a Christmas to remember– for the right reasons.

North Wales Fire and Rescue Service’s county safety manager for Flintshire, Kevin Roberts, is warning people to take care over the festive period.

He said at this time of year the service sees a number of trends in the type of incidents it is called to.

“We see problems with fairy lights on Christmas trees every year,” said Kevin.

“In January the lights are rolled up in a ball and shoved in a box until December, so when they come out again cables could be frayed and they become a fire hazard.

“People should ensure they put lights away sensibly and replace them every couple of years.”

And he warned people to turn their fairy lights off before going to bed or going out.

“Another of the main problems for us at Christmas is people using candles,” he added.

“People need to ensure that candles are in proper holders, on flat surfaces and out of reach of children and pets.

“We’ve seen incidents where tealights have been placed on top of televisions or speakers, burnt through and set fire to the electrics.”

Alcohol-related fires also increase during December.

Kevin said: “As soon as people start going to Christmas parties we expect an increase in fires which start after people have been drinking.

“It’s great to get into the Christmas spirit and have fun, but we advise people never to cook when drunk or smoke inside if they’re feeling at all drowsy.

“Fires can be caused by pizzas left in the oven, chip pans or people falling asleep on the sofa while smoking.

“People should also make sure they aren’t going to need to drive the next morning – as they could still be over the limit.”

Kevin is also warning people to be extra vigilant during bad weather, as it might take longer for the fire service to get to them.

He said: “If the roads are icy we have to reduce our speeds.

“In rural areas snowy conditions might mean the fire engine can’t get to properties and firefighters will have to leave the vehicle and travel on foot, which obviously increases the time it takes to get there.

“All we can do in these conditions is ask people to take as much care as possible to prevent fires.”

He added: “We want everyone to have a great festive period, relax, enjoy themselves and have a Christmas to remember. But we want to make sure they remember it for good reasons – not because of a fire.”