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Keep your children safe this Christmas

Published: 20th December 2007

NSWFB Fire Brigades (NSWFB) Commissioner Greg Mullins today warned residents to continue being vigilant about home fire safety during the festive season.

Commissioner Mullins said Christmas is one of the most celebrated times of the year however it can be one of the most dangerous with an increase in fire risks around the home which have the potential of causing serious injuries to families, especially children.

"There is nothing more difficult for a firefighter than to see a child suffer from burns and know they will possibly carry physical and emotional scars with them for the rest of their life especially knowing that the majority of fires in the home can be prevented if people take some simple fire safety precautions.

"Last night, Channel 7’s Today Tonight aired a story about a six-year-old girl who received shocking burns to her back when her dress caught alight while she was standing in front of a fireplace watching TV.

"I'd like to thank Today Tonight for bringing this important issue to the public's attention," Commissioner Mullins said. 

Commissioner Mullins urged residents to protect themselves and their families over the Christmas holidays.

"It is all about changing habits and implementing some simple strategies.  For some this may mean not leaving food unattended on the stove or in the microwave," he said.

"For others it's about preparing and practising an escape plan with the family, even your children to make sure everyone knows what to do and where to go if there is a fire in the home.

"With Christmas comes decorations which can be highly flammable so place them where they can't fall, be knocked into an open flame or where children can reach them.  Keep lighters, matches and candles away from Christmas trees or other flammable material and extinguish them if you leave the room or are going to bed.

"If you know that a relative or friend doesn't have a smoke alarm then consider giving them a smoke alarm for Christmas - it's a practical, inexpensive gift that could save a life.

"We recommend that you specifically ask for the 'photoelectric' type of smoke alarm as they are far more effective than the cheaper and more common ionization alarms."