Lives saved by fire safety campaign

Firefighters yesterday hailed the success of a seasonal safety campaign which they said helped make last month the first December in seven years without a house fire death.

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue (SYFR) urged residents to take extra precautions during the cold snap and over the festive period after 10 deaths in accidental

house fires in Decembers since 2003.

The month is traditionally a busy one for fire crews due to the additional seasonal hazards in homes, but statistics for December 2010 reveal there were no accidental house fire deaths, and a 28 per cent drop in accidental house fires between Christmas and New Year compared to 2009.

As part of a Christmas safety campaign, SYFR staff met with residents, commuters and Christmas shoppers, offering safety advice for the festive period, including advice around smoke alarms, safe cooking and seasonal electrical hazards.

Steve Makepeace, head of community safety for SYFR, said: "It is extremely encouraging to see that our wide-ranging prevention work across the county is making a positive difference in the homes of people in South Yorkshire."