FIREFIGHTERS were handing out free safety advice to shoppers this weekend as they wished for silent nights over Christmas.

The crews, from Wiltshire Fire and Rescue, had two fire engines and an aerial appliance in Wharf Green to draw the crowds before handing out the advice leaflets to ensure people can have a safe festive period, without the threat of fire ruining Christmas.

Youngsters enjoyed clambering all over the fire trucks on Saturday afternoon, while mums and dads were given vital tips to prevent them burning more than just the turkey.

Later on, the firefighters were joined by police in the town centre with a crashed car to make revellers aware about the dangers of drink-driving and the need for a safe route home when they were on a night out.

Group manager for Swindon, Ian Jeary, said: “It went really well and everybody was receptive to the messages we wanted to get across.

“We don’t want it to be a busy time over Christmas because that means people’s lives will have been ruined.”

Ian passed on five top tips for people to avoid a Christmas nightmare, as more and more people are staying home for a turkey dinner with friends and family, which, he said, has led to more calls to oven fires in the last couple of years.

“The first tip would be not to leave the cooking unattended,” he said. “I appreciate there is a lot going on but you could end up burning more than the turkey.

“Also try not to drink while cooking — sherry and cooking don’t mix unless, of course, you are pouring it over the Christmas pudding.

“Be careful with candles and keep them out of reach of children and away from the decorations.

“Turn off the lights on the tree and outside when you go to bed and if you are doing any wiring get an electrician in. It is just not worth the risk.

“Even a small fire and that could be you out of the house for Christmas and the effects of the smoke will last a very long time.”

Mr Jeary said the service will be running a week of events to increase awareness of fire and road safety next week. For more safety advice this Christmas, visit Wiltshire Fire and Rescue’s website at