diamond geezer

 Wednesday, December 22, 2004

preparing for Christmas emergencies

coping with specific emergencies

The emergency services are trained to cope with a wide range of emergency situations, but there is a lot you can do to help yourself (especially if you spot an unlocked window on Christmas Eve).

Fire prevention and safety
Reduce fire hazards in your home. You can bin those hundreds of highly combustible Christmas cards for a start. And always make your Blue Peter Advent Crown from flameproof tinsel.
Most fire deaths and injuries occur while people are sleeping. That's because it’s fun setting Grandpa's beard alight while he's snoring away during the Queen’s Speech.
Fit and maintain smoke alarms, just in case one of those fifty IKEA tealights you’ve got dotted around the house should create a superheated atmosphere accidentally causing a dangling strand of tinsel to spontaneously combust.
If trapped in smoke caused by blazing candles, rest assured that at least you'll slip into unconsciousness anaesthetised by the smell of musk and sandalwood.

When you walk into your lounge halfway through Christmas morning, the room may look as if a bomb has hit it. Just in case this is true, evacuate the family immediately and contact the emergency services to organise a controlled explosion.
Always pull Christmas crackers with extreme caution. The jokes inside may cause untold damage if not handled correctly.
If a Christmas pudding goes off in your kitchen, try to cover the brandy-fuelled flames with a damp tea towel. Order the rest of the family to stay in the dining area away from serving hatches in case there is a second pudding in the area.

Power cuts
If the power fails, log into our website for further information about what to do next. Alternatively use your common sense and go and buy some batteries.
Alternative entertainment is available. Victorians didn’t have Play Stations to keep them amused, did they? You could read a book, have a tinkle on the piano, play a game of Cluedo or, erm, just wait for the power to come back on again.

Biological attack
If you spot a sprout on your dinner plate, do NOT touch it.
Move quickly away from the immediate source of danger.
Wait for emergency chefs to arrive and examine the scene.
You may need to be decontaminated. This will involve gargling with gravy and covering yourself with a temporary serviette.

Chemical attack
If your auntie has bought you an unwanted bottle of perfume or aftershave, always dispose of the contents carefully (preferably while she’s not watching).
If your auntie is wearing an offensive perfume, construct a lean-to in the garage and quarantine her there for at least 48 hours.

Radiological attack
If your nose starts to glow red*, don't panic. Go and stand outside in the fog where you can be used as an emergency air traffic homing beacon.
*Other symptoms may include being laughed at, being called names and not being allowed to join in playing reindeer games.

Emergency planning exercises
These are held annually around the country to test our preparedness. Large groups of civilians find themselves compelled to assemble in local shopping centres. Here the crowds are addressed by civic officials who dispense good cheer and essential Christmas advice. On a pre-arranged signal the Mayor then presses a big red button. This illuminates flashing warning lights in the sky to warn shoppers against venturing too close during the festive period. See local press for details.

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