THE fire service is ensuring that shops are sticking to safety rules ahead of the busy Christmas period.

The drive comes as Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service hold a week of action as part of the Swindon Christmas Safety Campaign.

Yesterday staff from the service’s technical fire safety department were visiting shops around Swindon to ensure that fire safety regulations are being followed and shoppers remain safe during the build-up to Christmas.

Technical fire and safety inspector Lance Forster was visiting shops in The Parade to ensure that shops, who often have more stock at this time of year were still sticking to guidelines and ensuring the safety of their customers.

He said that the shops he had visited were doing well with sticking to the rules.

He said: “Because of increased stock levels and temporary staff Christmas is an important time to ensure that shops are still abiding by the regulations.

“We are looking for any stock that might be impeding walkways, or blocking fire exits.

“We can do several things if we see something wrong, most of the time we will try and move it there and then.

“If that is not possible we can issue notifications and return to make sure appropriate actions have been taken.

“I have been visiting all of the shops in parade and they have done well.

“There have been a couple of things but I have revisited them and they have been dealt with.

“Just the fact that they know someone will be coming and checking just ensures the right things are being done.”

To continue the campaign children at Westlea Primary School will have a visit from a firefighter and fire engine today to make sure they understand the importance of fire safety.

Group manager Ian Jeary, who manages the Swindon area fire stations, said: “The build-up to Christmas is always a concern for us – we have to make sure that shops are safe despite the extra stock, licensed premises are always a lot busier, and the risk of drink-driving is always greater.

“This is the first time that we’ve gone out into the community in this way, and I’m hoping that we can get our safety messages across to a wide range of people over the week.

“We want everyone to have a safe and enjoyable Christmas.”

For more safety advice this Christmas, visit Wiltshire Fire and Rescue’s website at