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The Lunar New Year is observed by billions of people across the world. It originates from East and Southeast Asia, and the term is referred to differently in different countries, including Chinese New Year, Spring Festival, Chunjie, and Yuan Tan.

Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service would like to wish those celebrating within our community a safe, happy and successful time throughout this period.

Lunar New Year is celebrated in diverse ways across the globe, depending on the different countries and cultures that observe it. However, the Lunar New Year is typically a time for family reunions, plenty of food, and lively celebrations.

Firecrackers, drums, and fireworks are also common during some Lunar New Year celebrations.

The celebration period can vary in length, but many of these celebrations involve certain traditions, rituals, and superstition.

The Lunar New Year also marks the point at which the Chinese zodiac – a repeating 12-year cycle of animal signs – transitions from one animal to the next, and this year we move from tiger to rabbit.

In Chinese culture the rabbit symbolises longevity, peace, hope and prosperity.

This year’s celebrations will culminate with the Lantern Festival on Sunday 5 February 2023.

While wishing our community a happy, healthy, and prosperous time, we would also like to take this opportunity to re-share some important fire safety advice, and to remind everyone of the risks posed by fireworks and sky lanterns.

1 in 6 homes in the UK is at risk of being affected by flooding. You can never eliminate the risk of flooding, but you can reduce the risk of water getting into your home and reduce its impact if it does get in. Being prepared by making a flooding action plan is one way of minimising the risks.

Bad or adverse weather can be unpredictable and it is common to get caught out while on the road. The best way to stay safe on the road in extremely bad weather is to avoid driving at all. However, for many people we recognise that is not always possible.

Last year (April 2021 to March 2022) we attended 43 chimney fires – an increase of 19 per cent on those recorded the previous year.

By having your chimney flue professionally swept and regularly inspected, you can help to prevent a chimney fire occurring at your property.

When wood or coal is burnt, gasses are given off. These turn into soot and tar (creosote) which accumulates on the inside of the chimney. Occasionally loose bricks, birds nests and other debris can fall down within a chimney, acting as fuel.

A blocked or defective chimney can cause carbon monoxide poisoning as well as a fire, so regular inspection and cleaning of chimney flues can help to identify and eliminate issues before they become a problem.