London Fire Brigade

Happy Year of the Tiger

11 February 2010

London Fire Brigade is wishing people a happy and prosperous Chinese New Year. London Fire Brigade Assistant Commissioner for Community Safety, Andy Hickmott, said: “During this time of celebration people spend more time at home entertaining and cooking and can become easily distracted and therefore more vulnerable to fire. It’s vital you take simple precautions so you, your family and friends are safe from fire”.

The Brigade’s statistics show that over 60 per cent of accidental fires in the home start in the kitchen. Andy Hickmott said: “This new year I’d urge you to be really careful in the kitchen. Never leave your cooking unattended - especially if you’re cooking fried foods as hot oil can easily catch fire.

“Another area of concern is candles and lanterns. If you’re lighting candles you should never leave them unattended or too close to flammable items like curtains”.

If you’re using fireworks to celebrate you also need to take extra precautions: “Fireworks can be spectacular but essentially they are explosives and can cause serious injuries if handled irresponsibly”, said Andy Hickmott. Only fireworks marked with British Safety Standard 7114 should be used and instructions should be carefully followed.

London’s firefighters are also highlighting the importance of smoke alarms, Andy Hickmott said: “It’s essential that you have a working smoke alarm on each level of your home. Alarms with a ten year battery are available, otherwise you should change the battery every year and test the alarms once a week”.

The Brigade also recommends that everyone plans an escape route in their home so that they know how to escape quickly in the event of a fire. Firefighters recommend that you also plan another route in case the normal one is blocked. All escape routes should be kept clear of obstructions at all times.

Notes to editors

Chinese New Year begins on Sunday 14th February.

For more fire safety advice on issues like candles, cooking and fireworks go to: www.london-fire.gov.uk

Please call Emma Cullen in the Brigade’s press office for further information, 020 8536 5922.