11:58 16 December 2009
With all the hustle and bustle of Christmas, the last thing on most people's minds is fire safety. However latest figures show that the number of fire related deaths and injuries sees a sharp rise over the festive period.
The mixture of rushing about, copious amounts of alcohol and late nights, not to mention the trappings of highly flammable decorations and atmospheric candles, makes for a disastrous combination.
In 2008, there were 33,000 accidental house fires, a shocking 10% of which occurred around the Christmas period.
Most people are familiar with the dangers of fire itself, however many are unaware that the toxic smoke from such a blaze can knock you unconscious and even kill in seconds.
But being safe it doesn't mean taking the joy out of the party season. By taking a few simple precautions, you can ensure your Christmas is one to remember for all the right reasons!
The government's Fire Kills scheme wants everyone to have a happy and safe Christmas and is urging the public to take fire safety seriously by planning escape routes, installing smoke alarms and testing them weekly to radically decrease their risk of danger.
The Fire Kills 'Don't Drown in Toxic Smoke' campaign will be running over the Christmas period to raise awareness of the rapid and disastrous effects that the highly poisonous smoke can have on the human body from hazards such as overheating fairy lights.
In the advert, viewers are shown a sleeping couple being overcome by the drowning sensation that toxic smoke has on us when a fire breaks out in the home at night.
Actress Jill Halfpenny is supporting the 'Don't Drown in Toxic Smoke' message: "As a mum I am very conscious of trying to keep my home as safe as possible to reduce the risks from fire.
"The fact is that fires can and do happen, so it's important to check your smoke alarm weekly and to be aware of the dangers.
"Ignorance is definitely not bliss when it comes to keeping your family safe."
Chief Fire & Rescue Advisor Sir Ken Knight, offered this advice: "The risk of fire in the home is an all year round issue however, people are particularly vulnerable at Christmas for many reasons ranging from unsafe electrical decorations, unattended candles through to cooking whilst drunk.
"People also vastly underestimate the deadly strength of toxic smoke and overestimate how long they have to escape should a fire break out.
"The reality is that just two to three breaths of smoke in a fire can render a person unconscious. Christmas should be a time for celebration rather than tragedy and for this reason Im urging people to be fire aware and stay fire safe."
Take a look at the shocking advert below, then make note and act on the simple steps you can take to banish the potential fire hazards and toxic threats, making sure you and your family have a merry Christmas and New Year to look forward to!
10 top tips to keep you safe from fire this Christmas:
For more information on fire safety in the home, or Home Fire Risk Checks, go to www.direct.gov.uk/firekills or contact your local Fire and Rescue Service (not 999).
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