Firefighters urge families to stay safe this Christmas

Firefighters attended more than 500 accidental house fires during last year’s festive and New Year celebrations, latest figures show.

They were alerted to a total of 517 such emergencies at homes across Scotland between December 7 and January 11.

Accidental fires over the winter months can be caused by an increased use of heating and electrical appliances plus higher alcohol consumption during the holiday season.

Meanwhile, the colder weather can also see firefighters attend more traffic collisions on the roads, caused by treacherous driving conditions during ice and flooding.

There were 230 such incidents over the same period last year.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service is now urging families to stay safe this festive period – through five easy steps.

They are: Check smoke alarms – test every alarm in your house weekly to ensure they are in working order; make sure your vehicle is winter ready; speak to older relatives, neighbours or friends – do they have working smoke alarms in their homes?; Fit a Carbon Monoxide alarm - during a cold winter we use central heating and gas fires more often, so the time to fit and test Carbon Monoxide alarms is now. Already have one? Test and make sure it’s working.

Give your Christmas decorations the once-over - check fairy lights are in working order and ensure they are kept well away from paper or fabrics that can burn easily.