Present-wrapping, decorating your home and Christmas dinner will hopefully take our minds off other concerns this yuletide.

But Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service and the national Fire Kills campaign is reminding people that fire safety always needs to stay high on their Christmas lists, despite the current high cost of living.

While fire safety is vital throughout the year, the extra distractions of Christmas make it especially important to be vigilant, so HWFRS is asking people to take extra care over the festive season to avoid a fire.

Last Christmas, between 24 December 2021 and midnight on 1 January 2022, we attended more than 150 incidents in Herefordshire and Worcestershire, including 24 fires and 80 false alarms (over half of all callouts).

Two of the main fire locations were the kitchen and the bedroom, with reasons being faulty fuel supply (electricity), overheating of equipment and cooking.

On the roads, the Service responded to 12 road traffic collisions with five people injured.

Emma Roberts HWFRS Head of Prevention, said: “Christmas is a time for festive cheer with family. But fairy lights, candles and decorations mean it is also a time to take extra care to keep our loved ones safe from fire.

“Make sure you place candles in suitable holders and away from curtains and, at this time of year, from Christmas decorations, never leave cooking unattended, especially with so much more food than usual on the go, and of course, test your smoke alarms.

“The colder weather brings its own menaces, too. Take care when using portable heaters or open fires to keep warm.”

Here are some simple tips from the Fire Kills campaign to help you and your family enjoy Christmas safely:

Emma added:“Don’t be tempted to cut corners on safety to bring down your energy bills over the Christmas break to help cope with the current cost of living - such as alternative ways of heating and lighting homes, with the increased dangers of fires and other incidents.

“People can complete a FREE online home fire safety check for themselves or loved ones – find it at We may also be able to visit your home to provide help and advice.

“A wealth of safety guidance is available on our website at and , including smoke alarm checks, heating appliance safety and safe boiler servicing.

“You can also contact our Prevention Team on 0800 032 1155 to see if you qualify for a free Home Fire Safety visit. From everyone at the HWFRS Prevention Team, we wish you all a very happy and safe Christmas.”