AS WINTER approaches, the risk of house fires is higher than ever, with people lighting candles, fires, and using stoves to keep warm.

Despite this, recent data has revealed that people are being more fire safety-conscious than ever, with just 151,000 fires across the UK in 2020 to 2021, the lowest reported in the last 10 years.

Anthony Neary, managing director of security retailer safe.co.uk, said: “There’s no doubt that during the winter, house fires are a higher risk as people will be using and generating heat more than they would in the summer."

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In a pledge to keep families safe this winter, the security retailer has provided ten tips on how to avoid accidental fires this Christmas.

Anthony said: “By looking into the latest UK fire statistics, we hope we’ve given people a good idea of what to look out for and how to be vigilant.

"Hopefully, everyone will take our advice and have a happy fire-free winter, and we can continue to reduce the amount of fires together.”

Here are the top tips:

1. Make sure a fire alarm is installed and the battery works. Regular tests will give you piece of mind that it is working correctly.

2. Check fairy lights for any breaks or splits before using as they may not have been used since the previous Christmas.

Don’t keep them on if you know you’re going to be away from the property for a long period of time.

3. Be sure to double check all candles have been blown out before going to bed or leaving the house.

4. Ensure any fires are completely extinguished before sleeping to ensure chimney fires don’t start throughout the night.

5. Have an escape route planned so everyone can get to safety during the event of a fire.

6. Do not smoke in bed and safely discard any cigarettes or ashtrays.

Smoking materials were responsible for eight per cent of the housefires in 2020 and 2021.

7. Use fireproof safes to protect important home content such as documents, money or jewellery during a fire.

8. During busy times such as Christmas, check all appliances such as ovens and hobs are turned off completely after use.

Cooking appliances caused 42 per cent of all house fires between 2020 and 2021.

9. Take extra care if you’re under the influence of alcohol. Check appliances and fires are all in a safe condition before falling asleep.

10. Don’t leave naked flames unattended for a long period of time.

Throughout October, November, December 2020 and January 2021, an average of 9,371 monthly fires were recorded in the UK, with 11,744 recorded in November alone.