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Christmas tree fire safety

We’re off to buy our Christmas tree this weekend. Then I’ll be going up into the loft to find the fairy lights, which have been tucked away for a year, and will be keeping my fingers crossed that they are still working. After that it will get the full treatment, accompanied by a mince pie and Christmas music. So this would seem a good moment to think about fire safety in the festive season.

There is some very good advice from the website UK Fire Service Resources about Christmas safety. In particular, it stresses that a burning tree can fill a room with fire and deadly gases incredibly quickly: this is clearly demonstrated in this frightening video, showing what can happen in around half a minute.

Safety starts with selecting the tree: it should have green needles which are hard to pull back from the branches, while the trunk should be sticky to the touch. Bounce the tree trunk off the ground: if lots of needs fall off, then the tree is old and more of a fire hazard.

When you put your tree up in the your home, keep it away from a heat source as this will dry it out and make it more easily ignited. Keeping the tree stand filled with water at all times will also help.

So now for the fairy lights. If bulbs blow, replace them, and make sure the correct fuse bulb is in place. Always switch the lights off when you go out or go to bed. And make sure the bulbs aren’t touching anything that can burn easily, such as paper. Finally, don’t be tempted to overload sockets if you’re using lots of strings of lights.

The only thing left now is to enjoy the festive season.

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