The National Directorate for Fire and Emergency Management (NDFEM) has begun a new campaign to create awareness of the increased risks of fire over the festive period and to advise the public of fire safety practices to prevent fires in the home.

Statistically, the highest number of fire fatalities occur in the winter months, particularly in the month of December.

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The campaign will run on radio, TV and social media over the coming weeks.

With increased socialising and celebrating in the home, more use of candles and a greater number of electronic devices in use, the NDFEM advises people to have a fire safety routine before going to bed.

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This should include extinguishing all candles and fires, turning off electrical appliances and closing all doors in your house to stop the spread of fire if it does break out.

NDFEM has issued the following top 5 tips to keep you fire safe this festive period:

 

1. Have a working smoke alarm fitted.

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The top advice from NDFEM is to have at least one smoke alarm fitted on every level of your home, ensure you can hear them from your bedrooms, test them weekly and never borrow batteries from your smoke alarms. In under three minutes you could die from smoke inhalation and the sound of a smoke alarm is the sound that could save your life!

 

2. Stay vigilant if using a stove or open fire.

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Keep Christmas cards and decorations away from stoves and open fires. Chimney fires remain the top cause of fire in Ireland.

In 2022, over 1600 chimney fires were attended by fire services.

A loud roaring noise from your fireplace would indicate that your chimney is on fire. While an open fire can give a festive feel, remember to get your chimney cleaned, keep a spark guard on and be cautious of anything that may fall from the fireplace.

 

3. Be mindful to plug out this holiday season!

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  • During the festive period more equipment will be plugged in and electrical fire continues to be a big danger.
  • Never overload sockets and always ensure all electrical equipment is in good working order especially if not used since last year.
  • If Santa brings new e-scooters or e-bikes charge them in a safe place and never overnight.

 

  • The biggest cause of fire fatality so far this year in Ireland has been smoking, due to leaving lit cigarettes unattended.
  • 1 in 5 Fire Fatalities in Ireland in 2022 were from smoking materials!
  • The NDFEM advises not to smoke in bed and to ensure that cigarettes or cigars are always fully extinguished.
  • Dampen ashtrays with water before retiring for the night.

 

5. Call 999 or 112 in case of fire.

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  • If a fire starts in your home, get out and get the Fire Brigade out!
  • The campaign also reiterates existing fire safety advice to ensure you have at least one working smoke alarm in your home and to have a plan in place with your household for what to do if a fire breaks out.

 

Additionally, people are being asked to check in with the elderly and more vulnerable in their community and check:

1. Do they have working smoke alarms?

2. Are their escape routes clear?

3. Are they fire safe aware?

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Minister Rabbitte: welcomed the launch of the new campaign:

The impact of house fires during the Christmas season is devastating, as it not only poses a threat to property but also jeopardises the safety and well-being of individuals and families.

The festive period often sees an increase in the use of candles, decorations, lights, charging devices and heating devices, all of which can contribute to a higher risk of fires.

The loss of cherished belongings, sentimental items, and the disruption of holiday celebrations can be emotionally and financially overwhelming for those affected.

Moreover, the aftermath of a house fire may extend beyond the immediate damage, leading to long-term challenges such as the need for temporary housing, insurance claims, and the emotional toll on individuals and communities.

It underscores the importance of fire safety precautions, heightened awareness, and responsible practices during the holiday season to ensure that the festivities remain joyful and free from such tragic incidents.

Finally, we’re asking people to check in on older or vulnerable neighbours, families and friends to make sure their homes are safe from fire hazards – we can all play a part to keep each other safe from fire.

 

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