Make Safety Your Christmas Number One

5-2Cooking, candles and electrical equipment are all top of the Christmas danger list as Cleveland Fire Brigade warn people to take extra care during the festivities.

The seasonal reminder comes at a time of year when extra hazards in the home can trigger fires.

Over the last three years there have been 52 accidental house fires between December 1 and January 3. There were 17 were in Redcar and Cleveland, 14 in Middlesbrough, 13 in Stockton and eight in Hartlepool.

Out of these, 16 were down to electrical equipment, 14 to candles or radiated heat and 11 to cooking.

Phil Lancaster, Director of Community Protection at Cleveland Fire Brigade, said: “We want people to enjoy all the festivities of Christmas time but we are also urging them to take extra care at a time of year when there are increased dangers around the home.

“Overloading sockets, charging mobiles and laptops overnight,  leaving cooking unattended, keeping candles near curtains or tinsel and  drying clothes on heaters, can all spark disaster and lead to Christmas going up in flames. This is a magical time of the year and we want to keep it that way.

“Just following a few safe and sensible safety tips can make it a happy Christmas for everyone.”

Top tips for a safe Christmas


  • Stand by your pan – NEVER leave cooking unattended
  • Don’t drink and cook – order a takeaway or eat cold food if drinking
  • Food left too long to reheat in a microwave can easily set on fire
  • Chuck out your chip pan – it could save your life
  • Keep your cooker clean – a build-up of fat can AND does cause fires


  • Always place your candles and tealights on a suitable fire resistant candleholder
  • Keep candles, tealights, matches and lighters out of reach of children and pets
  • Position candles and tealights away from curtains, furniture and anything else that can catch fire
  • Never put tealights on plastic surfaces such as baths Never leave candles and tealights unattended – if you go out or to bed, make sure they are properly out


  • Unplug appliances when not in use, unless they are designed to be left on, like your fridge or freezer
  • Regularly check for worn or frayed wires – always ensure cables are secured properly to the plug before plugging in anything
  • Ensure tumble dryers and washing machines are cleaned and maintained – excess ­fluff‑ can build up over time and catch fire
  • Don’t overload plug sockets – extension leads and adaptors have a limit to how many amps they can take. Keep one plug per socket
  • Don’t switch tumble dryers off before they have gone through the ‘cool down’ cycle
  • Don’t leave laptops, tablets and mobile phones charging overnight or when you go out. Never charge a mobile phone under your pillow while you sleep!
  • Don’t buy or use counterfeit electricals/charging leads