Whilst Christmas time is a period of festivity and celebration, it’s also a time to be more vigilant regarding fire safety. With the many decorations, extra food preparation and holiday mindset, the chance of tragedy resulting from fire increases dramatically.
Typically, more fatalities caused by accidental fires occur in the December/January period, and the holiday period sees more accidental fires than any other time of the year.
Read on for our quick tips on keeping you and your family safe this Christmas:
Whilst a beautiful, decorated tree is the centrepiece of many homes at Christmas, they are also the fuel for many fires.
- An artificial tree is less prone to fire than a real tree, due to real versions often drying out creating a higher fire safety risk.
- If you do choose a real Christmas tree, look for one which is fresh and green. There is less chance of it drying out in the period it’s inside your home, and so ignition risks are reduced.
- Choose the site for your Christmas tree carefully, away from any open sources of flame or heat.
2 – Christmas Lights
Twinkling lights adorn many homes over the festive period, both inside and out. However, lights are one of the most serious fire safety threats.
- Make sure the wiring of Christmas lights are in good condition, with no visible signs of wear and tear. Any lights that don’t fit this criteria should be destroyed.
- Inspect all bulb sockets to ensure none are cracked or broken.
- Only lights that have been approved by an approved testing laboratory should be used.
- To minimise the risk of overloading power sockets, don’t leave Christmas lights turned on all the time.
- If possible, LED lights are the safer purchase as they operate at cooler temperatures.
3 – Candles
When it comes to Christmas decorations, candles are the greatest risk due to the open flame.
- Electric flame candles are a much safer, and often as effective, option than open-flame candles.
• Never hang lit candles from a Christmas tree, door wreath or other Christmas decorations.
• Keep candles away from anything easily ignitable from a naked flame, such as cards, hanging decorations and tinsel.
• When using candles ensure they are placed in candle holders designed and fitted for the candle itself
The kitchen can be the most dangerous area of the home during this season due to the extra food preparation that typically occurs, and the stress of Christmas can often lead to fire safety being neglected.
- Always be present in the room whilst food is cooking.
- Children, or tipsy guests should be kept away from all cooking.
- Never cook under the influence of alcohol.
- Make sure you unplug or switch off all cooking appliances after use.
5 – Fire Alarms
Quite possibly the most important action to take is to ensure that all your fire alarm systems and equipment are operating perfectly and are up to date.
- Ensure your smoke alarms are tested weekly, and batteries are fully functional. Set a reminder on your phone or calendar. It takes seconds and could save lives.
- If you have fire blankets, make sure they are in good condition.
- Check that all fire extinguishers are fully operational.
- Ensure that escape routes are easily accessible and free from obstruction.
6 – Older Relatives and Neighbours
Many older people may not be as fire aware as ourselves. It only takes a few minutes to check on elderly relatives and neighbours to ensure their home is fire safe.