From candles to Christmas trees, Christmas can be one of the most dangerous times of year for fire. A little preparation and planning ahead can help you avoid having your holidays and home ruined during the festive season. Here are some of the fire risks you’ll want to pay extra attention to during the Christmas period and how to keep your home safe from harm.
Christmas trees are one of the biggest causes of home fires at Christmas. Keep your tree in an open area away from any heat sources and be extra careful with candles. When it’s time to take it down, make sure you dispose of your tree properly rather than burning it in the fireplace.
Christmas lights and decorations
If you like to decorate your home with Christmas lights and other decorations, you’ll probably be using more electricity than usual.
If you’re hanging lights outside, make sure they’re suitable for outdoor use and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Avoid using extension cables intended for indoor use only and make sure all leads and connections are kept well above ground. This is especially true if there are puddles on the ground or you’re expecting snow.
Inside the house, make sure all lights are marked with a British safety standard and are free from damage. Lights stored in the attic for 11+ months can easily become worn, so it’s important to check them over before plugging them in. Overloading plug sockets can pose a very real fire risk to your home, so don’t plug too many things in at once. If there’s not enough room for all of your decorations, consider cutting down and only keeping the ones you love. Keep all decorations away from heaters, fireplace, lights and anything else that could lead to a fire.
Most home fires begin in the kitchen. Even if you’re always careful when cooking, it’s easy to get distracted during the celebrations, especially if you’re hosting guests in your home.
However busy your house gets, never leave the cooking unattended. If you need to leave the kitchen, ask someone to stand in for you. Cooking under the influence of alcohol will also increase the risk of fire, so you may want to wait until the dinner’s on the table to enjoy a glass of mulled wine.
Whether you hang your Christmas cards on the wall or display them on a shelf, make sure they’re kept well away from candles, fireplaces and other objects that could start a fire. It only takes one card falling down in a breeze to set a whole house alight.
If you’re using candles at Christmas, make sure you take extra care to use them safely. Blow out candles before leaving the house and make sure you only light them in open, visible spaces. If you have children around, it might be best to leave the candles in a cupboard or place them up high so small hands can’t grab them.
Before the Christmas season begins, make sure your smoke alarms are working properly. Doing so could save lives should anything happen during the holidays. Never take your smoke alarms down or remove the batteries to use in toys, decorations or other gadgets around the home – your life is much more important.