GUEST COLUMN: Have fun but stay safe this Christmas, by Simon Glew, NFRS station manager

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Christmas is here, and during this season of good will, many of you will no doubt be decorating your homes with lights and candles, using portable heaters to keep you warm and maybe even having a few glasses of wine while cooking that long awaited Christmas dinner.

Obviously all of us here at Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service want you all to have a fantastic festive season, however we also want you to be careful and safe from fire too.

Having the house filled with additional family members and all of the things mentioned above – such as decorating the house with lights – all adds to the fire risk in your home and, let’s face it, nobody wants their festive celebrations being ruined by fire.

So, while we aren’t trying to be party poopers, all we ask is that you keep yourself safe from fire over the Christmas period by making sure you have enough working smoke alarms to protect your home, by making sure you’re not overloading plug sockets when lining the halls with fairy lights and by not letting yourselves get distracted whilst cooking.

We also ask that you be careful where you place your candles - making sure that children and pets can’t reach them to knock them over - and that should the worse happen, you and your guests have an escape plan so you can all get out safely.

Finally, another thing that can cause problems is faulty lights on Christmas trees and we recommend that each year lights are replaced with new British Standard lights.

Moving on to something that isn’t Christmas related, we are delighted to announce that we are about to launch a fire cadets scheme in Mansfield. This is being funded by the local Partnership Plus team and is a fantastic, unique opportunity for young people in the area to get first-hand experience of the work that we do as a Fire and Rescue Service.

As part of the scheme, cadets take part in NFRS related activities, community safety initiatives and other team challenges. If you, or somebody you know, would be interested in applying for the fire cadets programme, please contact Mansfield fire station on 01623 666999.

For more information on the fire cadets scheme, and also on how to stay safe from fire, please visit our website: http://www.notts-fire.gov.uk/firecadets.asp.