AS CHRISTMAS lights were switched on across the region last weekend and many of us plan to put up our own decorations, the fire service has urged residents to keep safety in mind.

North Wales Fire and Rescue Service (NWFRS) has urged residents to follow some simple tips to stay safe over the festive season as electrical items and candles take a central place in the celebrations.

Justin Evans, NWFRS head of community safety, said: “I know that residents across the region will be preparing their displays and I would ask them to do so safely, by not overloading sockets and using correctly fused multi gang safety leads.

“Many people will have a variety of electrical devices on their Christmas lists this year – be conscious of overloading, do not charge items overnight and use chargers from a reputable source rather than cheap aftermarket chargers.

“The build up to Christmas and New Year can be a time to relax and enjoy being with family and friends - but extra vigilance is vital to prevent a fire that could easily devastate the family home with the loss of presents and valuables, seriously injuring or even worse killing you or a loved one."

The NWFRS suggests the following tips to stay safe: check your Christmas tree lights conform to the British Standard; never place candles near Christmas trees or furnishings, especially unattended; make sure your family and visitors staying for the festive period know what to do in an emergency; don't attach decorations to lights or heaters; switch off electrical appliances when not in use - unless they're designed to stay on; always switch off and unplug Christmas lights before going to bed and don't overload sockets and plugs but use correctly fused multi gang safety leads; never leave cooking unattended; and eep candles, lighters and matches out of reach of children.

Mr Evans added: "Everyone likes to enjoy themselves over the holiday period, and we are just asking them to keep safety in mind while celebrating. I would also like to remind residents about the dangers of leaving cooking unattended and cooking after drinking alcohol - cooking and drinking just do not mix.

"We all need to consider the possible consequences of our actions and think safe to stay safe.

“I would also ask everyone to consider elderly or vulnerable family or neighbours, and ensure they get their home checked too. The early warning provided by a smoke alarm can allow vital minutes to help them escape unharmed.”

Visit North Wales Fire and Rescue Service's website for more information on fire safety.