Video: 60 seconds to Christmas disaster

Passchendaele. Picture: Imperial War Museum

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THIS horrifying film shows how Christmas can turn to tragedy in just 60 seconds.

The Government safety video shows faulty lights on a tree catching fire in a living room, with the blaze quickly taking hold.

It has been released as part of the Fire Kills! campaign this festive period.

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service is urging everyone to put fire safety at the top of their Christmas list.

A spokesman said: ‘Christmas is a time for having fun with family and friends, however it is also a time when extra fire hazards come into your home, such as fairy lights, candles and decorations. The Fire Kills Christmas Tree video really shows how quickly a fire can spread.‘We are urging you to think about fire safety ahead of the Christmas period – ensure you buy British Standard fairy lights, place candles in suitable holders and away from curtains, and never leave cooking unattended. Following our simple tips will make sure everyone is safe to enjoy the festivities.’

There were 2,834 accidental fires in the home in England in December 2011 – higher than any other month of the year.

The fire service has a series of tips to help ensure people celebrate safely this festive season:

*Ensure you have a working smoke alarm on all levels of your home. Test your smoke alarms regularly and never remove batteries to power presents.

*Check on older relatives and neighbours to ensure their safety as they are at greater risk from fire.

*Never leave cooking unattended. The majority of fires start in the kitchen so this is a high risk area. Avoid cooking while under the influence of alcohol and always turn off kitchen appliances when you have finished cooking.

*Never leave burning candles unattended. Keep candles out of the reach of children, and away from decorations, cards and wrapping paper, fires, lights and heaters. All candles including tealights should only be used in proper holders.

*Put your cigarette out, right out. Make sure your cigarette is fully extinguished and take extra care if you have been drinking alcohol or when tired. It’s very easy to fall asleep while your cigarette is still burning and set furniture alight.

*Don’t overload sockets – ensure only one plug per socket. Always turn off plugs when they are not in use, except those that are designed to be left on, like freezers.

*Ensure you switch off fairy lights and unplug them before you go to bed, or leave the house. Check your Christmas tree lights conform to the British Standard (BS EN 60598). Replace them if the cable is old or damaged.

*Always use an RCD (residual current device) on outdoor electrical equipment. This safety device can save lives by instantly switching off the power if there is a fault and can be found in any DIY store.

*Make sure everyone in your home knows what to do in a fire – get out, stay out and call 999.