Crackers, Poppers and Candles – it’s Christmas!

Christmas is traditionally a time for celebration and feasting. But on Christmas Day, or afternoon, to be precise, the emergency services are on high alert for the phones to start ringing after more than chestnuts have got roasted on an open fire, and the very house is aglow, but not with festive spirit.

Accidents are mostly likely in the kitchen, with over-zealous and pickled chefs roasting sprouts, barbecuing turkeys and incinerating puddings. After that, faulty fairy lights are next in line for a sparkle which might go down with a bang, but with the modern technology of lighting and some lights battery illuminated, this becomes less likely. Candles are another thing, they should never be left unattended … and its worth noting that fragranced candles can be particularly volatile. Make sure that your smoke alarm is in full working order and the batteries haven’t been pinched for a new toy.

Crackers and party poppers do contain a tiny amount of gunpowder, just enough to remind you of a crackling fire apparently, but most of them are harmless. Kids … don’t aim that party popper at auntie Barb’s face, that’s just not nice. And watch the little gifts in crackers, you don’t want your three-year old turning your best curtains into a snowflake cutting class with those tiny scissors or attempting to re-wire the house with that miniature tool-kit.

Then there’s the family bonding. Ahh yes, trapped by the pearls of wisdom whilst drying up, the mountains of plates, the greasy spoons, the umpteen half empty glasses of wine when there are only four adults in the house, the rubbish bags of crumpled wrapping paper to go through to find that elusive lost earring. The broken toys to fix, the hugely complicated set of instructions to ponder with a furrowed brow. The 1000-piece jigsaw puzzles, the Monopoly game that lasts for days, the laughter, the hugs, the surprises, the doggies dressing up kit, the toddler fairy (everyone, even grandpa says ‘awww’). Yes, its Christmas, a time for feasting, celebration, saying ‘hi’ to your neighbour, and saying ‘I love you’ to your family and friends, giving to charity and singing a few carols, reflecting on absent loved ones, treasuring memories, and making plans. Best wishes for a Happy Christmas from all of us at Bath & West Fire & Safety. See you in the New Year – 2019!

The office will be closed from Friday 21st December to Monday 7th January 2019. For out of hours please contact 01225 868199.

The Christmas Yule Log – it’s not just Chocolate!

Christmas is full of traditions. And the ritual of burning a yule log at Christmas is one which goes back to pagan times. The name ‘Yule’ originates from northern Europe, meaning Winter Solstice. In the dark days of winter over the yuletide period, it was the belief that the sun would stand still for the 12 days of Christmas.

So, on Christmas Eve, people would travel to the forests and select a special log which would be dragged back home, tied in ribbons and decorated. People would take turns in dragging the log as this was thought to bring good luck. The log would then be burnt in the fireplace until 12th night to keep the house warm and also to bring fortune on the home and its inhabitants. If the
log was to go out, then this would mean bad luck. How did one log keep burning for 12 days? Sometimes it would be an entire tree and would be so big that part of it would have to burst out through an open window! Sometimes a large log would be cut into bits and burnt gradually. But it was important that not all the log would be consumed, as a little piece would have to be kept to light the next yule log on the next year’s Christmas Eve.

But if you haven’t got an open fire, there are apps to download a yule log fire, complete with crackling, so it can be played on the tv. Although we think that the best way to celebrate the yuletide log is to make a chocolate one. But then the problem would be … could you make it last for 12 days?!

For all your fire safety needs including fire risk assessments, installation and maintenance of fire alarms, extinguishers, fire blankets and fire safety training for your staff contact us at Bath & West Fire & Safety.

It’s Band-Aid 2018 with The Fire Tones

Just in time for Christmas there is a new version of Bob and Midge’s ‘Do they know its Christmas?’. Tipped for the Season’s Number One slot, a group called ‘The Fire Tones’ are singing their hearts out for two charities: The Fire Fighters Charity and The Band Aid Charity Trust. It’s an emotional video to watch, and Amazon sales have been brisk so far.

The original Band-Aid single ‘Do they know it’s Christmas?’ was released in 1984. The hope was to raise cash for famine relief in crisis ridden Ethiopia. At the time it was a huge novelty for a group of pop and rock artistes to get together and sing for charity in the form of a super group. The Band-Aid single featured various big-haired stars of the day, such as Status Quo, Bananarama, Bono, Sting, George Michael and Boy George, and was released a few weeks before Christmas. It leapt to the No.1 after selling a million copies in the first week, and over 3 million before the end of the 1984.

A Live-Aid concert was to follow in 1985 when rock group Queen took to the stage and performed what is thought to be the best ever live performance of a rock band in front of a full capacity audience of 170,000 in Wembley Stadium. At the same time, there were live concerts all over the world, including Philadelphia, Soviet Union, Japan and West Germany. In all, it is estimated that the Live Aid concerts were watched by 1.5 billion people in 110 countries. The money raised from the Live-Aid project topped £150 million, and most of it went to help fight famine.

‘Do they know its Christmas?’ is a song which is often played at this time of the year, and many may remember the original, and other versions too with every passing generation. But we wish the Fire Tones our best wishes for their crack at this festive favourite. For all your fire safety needs including fire risk assessments, installation and maintenance of fire alarms, smoke alarms, extinguishers, fire blankets and fire safety training for your staff contact us at Bath & West Fire & Safety.