Emergency services in Ireland attend more fires in December than any other month.

Be fire safe this Christmas

A new campaign has kicked off to create awareness of the increased risks of fire over the festive period.

Launched by the National Directorate for Fire and Emergency Management (NDFEM), the campaign reiterates existing fire safety advice regarding candles, chimney fires, electrical equipment, smoking, and smoke alarms.

Statistically, the highest number of fire fatalities in Ireland occur during the winter months, particularly in the month of December, according to the NDFEM.

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. 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.

Regarding chimney fires, which remain the top cause of fire in Ireland, people are advised to have their chimney cleaned, keep a spark guard on, and be vigilant to anything that may fall from the fireplace.

For electrical equipment, the NDFEM says to never overload sockets and always ensure all electrical equipment is in good working order, especially if not used since last year. The biggest cause of fire fatality so far this year in Ireland has been smoking, due to leaving lit cigarettes unattended. The NDFEM advises not to smoke in bed and to ensure that cigarettes or cigars are always fully extinguished.

The top advice from NDFEM is to have a smoke alarm fitted at least 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.

Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD, said: “This is the time of year when many of us are hosting or socialising more in our homes or hopefully taking some time out to unwind with our families and enjoy the festive season. However, tragically, a higher number of fire fatalities are recorded in December than in any other month of the year.”