Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service is urging Staffordshire residents to take care as they prepare their homes for the Christmas period.
"We want everyone have a great Christmas and don’t want their festivities blighted by avoidable fires."
Risk Reduction Manager, David Steele
Each year the Service is called to incidents involving Christmas trees, lights, candles and overloaded plug sockets - incidents which can often be avoided if safety advice is followed.
Last year, 35% of all incidents which took place in Staffordshire over the festive period (see notes to editor) were caused by electrical faults, overloaded sockets, candles or combustible materials catching fire.
Risk Reduction Manager, David Steele said: "We see the same mistakes made each year when people start to decorate for Christmas. Faulty fairy lights set trees on fire, plug sockets are overloaded and start fires or candles are left burning unattended near to combustible materials.
"We urge residents to take fire safety into account when they put up their decorations this year. Ensure that fairy lights have been checked for any damage and that they conform to the British Standard (BS EN 60598).
"Make sure the Christmas tree and any other decorations are a safe distance away from open fires, heaters and candles and don’t overload plug sockets. We would also encourage people to turn off festive lights overnight."
The National Institute of Standards and Technology produced a short video showing just how quickly a Christmas tree can catch fire and destroy an entire room – in less than 60 seconds (see notes to editor).
David added: "We want everyone have a great Christmas and don’t want their festivities blighted by avoidable fires. If anyone would like to book a free Home Fire Risk Check they can do so by calling 0800 0241 999 and a member of Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service will visit your home and give you invaluable fire safety advice."