ROYAL Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service (RBFRS) is urging residents to take care this Christmas.

Although fire safety is important year-round, the festive season brings extra fire hazards such as open fires, decorations and candles.

However, the risk of a fire can be greatly reduced by following some simple safety advice.

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The service is sharing its #12DaysOfChristmas fire safety advice, which includes:

1. Check that Christmas tree lights carry the British Safety Standard sign

2. Never place candles near a Christmas tree or materials that can catch light easily

3. Test smoke alarms weekly – these can provide a vital early warning in case of a fire

4. Never leave cooking unattended, or cook after been drinking alcohol

5. Make sure that all guests are aware of the escape routes in homes

6. Never attach decorations to lights or heaters, they can catch fire easily

7. Take care around open fireplaces as clothing can catch fire. Keep children away from open fires

8. Take time to check on elderly friends and relatives this Christmas, as they may be at a greater risk

9. Make sure a working smoke alarm is on every level of your home

10. Switch off and unplug fairy lights before leaving the house or going to bed

11. Drive for the conditions. In wet weather stopping distances will be at least double those required for stopping on dry roads

12. Don't drink and drive

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Tony Deacon, area manager service delivery (Prevention and Protection) said: “Christmas is an excellent time of year for spending time with friends and family, but can also bring potential fire hazards.

"You can reduce the chances of a fire in your home by making sure you’re aware of the risks and following our advice.

"With the weather also getting colder, we'd like to remind residents to be cautious on the roads.

"The best way for us to deal with road traffic accidents is to prevent them from happening in the first place.

"You can help us do this by driving for the conditions and keeping your distance from the car in front."