We want to help make sure you, your family and your guests are safe this Christmas, so here's some useful tips and advice below, you can follow the links for more information too.

Don't be distracted, be fire aware 🔥

There's always so much going on over the festive period and you can be easily distracted so Kent Fire and Rescue Service are reminding us to:

  • Move lit candles away from things that can burn like cards, decorations and curtains
  • Make sure you don’t overload sockets and that things are unplugged when they’re not in use
  • Try not to get distracted when you're cooking
  • Think ahead and buy enough batteries, don't take them out of your smoke alarms
  • Test your smoke alarm each week – it’ll help alert you to a fire and could save your life

Buying electrical items as gifts? 🔌

The Royal Society for the Prevention of accidents (RoSPA) website has some great tips, including:

  • To look for safety marks like the BS Kitemark or CE mark
  • Always buying from a reputable store
  • Avoid buying second-hand unless you have them professionally checked first

When doing your Christmas food shop 🛒

The Food Standards Agency recommends:

  • Taking enough bags so that you can pack raw and ready-to-eat food separately. This’ll help you to avoid cross-contamination
  • Never defrosting your turkey at room temperature. If yours is frozen, make sure you check the packaging well in advance. A typical large turkey weighing 6-7kg could take as long as four days to defrost fully in the fridge
  • That if your fridge is full, only take items out that don’t need to be chilled – like beer. This’ll help to make room for the things that need to be in the fridge, like your turkey and pigs in blankets
  • Before you serve your turkey make sure the meat is steaming hot throughout, that there’s no pink meat visible and that the juices run clear when you cut into the thickest part. There's lots of tips about how to use a temperature probe or a cooking thermometer and how to get the most out of your leftovers

Don’t advertise what’s inside your home 🕵️

You can do this by:

  • Disposing of packaging and boxes carefully
  • Advising delivery companies of a safe place to leave your parcels, if you’re not going to be home when they arrive
  • Keep gifts and important or expensive items somewhere safe that’s out of view
  • If you’re going away over the festive season ask a friend to keep an eye on your home and to clear any post away from your front door. You could also ask them to open and close your curtains or blinds too

Kent Police also remind us to keep safe whilst you’re out and about by being aware of your surroundings and shielding your pin number.

Cold weather can worsen some health problems ❄️

It can even lead to serious complications, especially if you're 65 or older, or if you have a long-term health condition. NHS England advises:

  • If you’re 65 or over see a pharmacist as soon as you feel unwell, even if it's just a cough or a cold
  • Check on older neighbours and relatives to make sure they’re safe, well and warm enough, especially at night, and that they have stocks of food and medicines
  • Keep your bedroom at 18°c all night if you can – and keep the bedroom window closed

Getting behind the wheel during the festive period? 🚗

Here's some quick tips from the RAC which can help to keep your journey safe and stress-free:

  • Plan ahead before making a longer journey, so you can prepare for any potential delays and avoid roadworks
  • Friday evenings are always busy, especially leading into the Christmas weekend. Could you wait, and try to get an early start on the Saturday morning instead?
  • Drink driving is a serious issue at any time of the year, but it’s magnified at Christmas. If you’ve been drinking alcohol the night before you may not be sober enough to drive the next morning
  • Check the forecast before you travel. You may have to re-think your plans if severe wintry weather is predicted