Keep your Christmas magical – Don’t let a fire ruin it

Cleveland Fire Brigade is appealing to people to avoid the heartache of a fire this Christmas by taking extra care with cooking, candles and electrical equipment.

Last December alone there were 16 accidental house fires in Teesside. That’s 16 homes and families affected by fire during what should be a happy time. The top causes of the fires were cooking and electrical.

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 a 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


  • Don’t overload plug sockets – extension leads and adaptors have a limit to how many amps they can take. Keep one plug per socket
  • Make sure electricals such as hair straighteners, curling tongs and irons are unplugged before leaving the house
  • 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!
  • Only buy electricals from reputable suppliers and ensure they carry the British or European Safety Mark
  • Switch decorative lights off when you go to bed or leave the house
  • Replace any bulbs that blow
  • Don’t let the bulbs touch anything that can burn easily, like paper or fabrics and other Christmas tree decorations
  • Regularly check for worn or frayed wires – always ensure cables are secured properly to the plug before plugging in anything


  • 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