The winter months see the highest amount of house fires each year, particularly as candles and electrical lights are used to celebrate the lead-up to Christmas. To keep ourselves, our loved ones and our homes safe, we should all be aware of fire risks and how to reduce them.

Below, we’ve listed the most common causes of house fires so you can know what to look out for:

  • Candles

    Keep candles in a sturdy holder on a level surface, away from combustible materials and out of the reach of children or pets. Blow them out before leaving the room.

  • Christmas trees

    Keep your tree in a stand that will hold 2-3 litres of water, and top it up daily. Keep the tree away from all heat sources, including radiators, furnace ducts, television sets, and fireplaces. Check decorative lights before placing them on the tree, and discard any damaged lights. Never place candles on or near the Christmas tree.

  • Cooking equipment

    When a pot or pan overheats or splatters greases, it can take seconds to cause a fire. Stay in the kitchen when cooking, especially if using oil or high temperatures; most kitchen fires occur because people get distracted and leave their cooking unattended.

  • Heating equipment

    Keep portable heaters at least one metre away from anything that can burn (including curtains, furniture, and you), and don’t use your heaters to dry shoes or clothes.

  • Smoking

    We advise that you never smoke indoors. If you do, however, use large, deep ashtrays to collect ash and never discard cigarette butts on the floor. Make sure ash and butts are fully extinguished before throwing into the bin.

  • Electrical equipment

    Don’t leave electrical items like phones, laptops or remote controls on combustible surfaces, especially overnight.

    Ensure you don’t overload plug sockets, extension cords or adaptors. Also, take care not to run wires under blankets or heavy furniture.

    If you notice any problems with a socket or the wire of an appliance, contact us immediately.

  • Tumble dryers

    A build-up of lint can cause your dryer to overheat, as air is prevented from circulating through the machine. To reduce the risk of fire, be sure to remove lint between uses.

For more advice on staying fire safe in your home, click here.

You can also learn more about reducing the risks of fire by visiting Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service's website.