WITH Christmas lights being switched on across the region, and many people starting to hang up their Christmas decorations, North Wales Fire and Rescue Service is urging residents to follow some simple tips to stay safe over the festive season.

Justin Evans, head of community safety, said: “I know that residents across the region will be preparing their displays and I would ask them to do so safely, by not overloading sockets and using correctly fused multi gang safety leads.

“Many people will have a variety of electrical devices on their Christmas lists this year – be conscious of overloading, do not charge items overnight and use chargers from a reputable source rather than cheap aftermarket chargers.

“The build up to Christmas and New Year can be a time to relax and enjoy being with family and friends - but extra vigilance is vital to prevent a fire that could easily devastate the family home with the loss of presents and valuables, seriously injuring or even worse killing you or a loved one."

North Wales Fire and Rescue Service is urging people to stay safe and protect their homes from fire by following twelve tips for festive fire safety:

• Check that your Christmas tree lights conform to the British Standard. Always use an RCD on outdoor electrical equipment – a safety device that can save lives by instantly switching off the power.

• Never place candles near your Christmas tree or furnishings and do not leave them burning unattended.

• Make sure your family and visitors staying for the festive period know what to do in an emergency and practice a fire escape plan.

• Decorations can burn easily so do not attach them to lights or heaters.

• Switch off electrical appliances when not in use, unless they are designed to stay on.

• Always switch off and unplug them Christmas lights before you go to bed.

• Most fires start in the kitchen so never leave cooking unattended. The risk of accidents, especially in the kitchen, is greater after alcohol is consumed.

• If you are planning to celebrate with fireworks, store them in a metal box, read the instructions, never go back to a lit firework and keep a bucket of water nearby.

• Make sure cigarettes are completely extinguished.

• Check the battery in your smoke alarm every week and use Christmas as a reminder to clean it and remove dust.

• Keep candles, lighters and matches out of reach of children.

• Take the time to check on elderly relatives and neighbours this Christmas - make sure they are fire safe as well as checking on their wellbeing.

Justin added: "Everyone likes to enjoy themselves over the holiday period, and we are just asking them to keep safety in mind while celebrating. I would also like to remind residents about the dangers of leaving cooking unattended and cooking after drinking alcohol - cooking and drinking just do not mix.”

"We all need to consider the possible consequences of our actions and think safe to stay safe. I would also ask everyone to consider elderly or vulnerable family or neighbours, and ensure they get their home checked too. The early warning provided by a smoke alarm can allow vital minutes to help them escape unharmed.”