Customer news Fire safety

Fire safety over the festive season

In all the colourful, festive excitement of the festive season, it’s sometimes easy to forget about keeping ourselves safe at home. We want to make sure your holidays are accident-free, so here are some top tips for avoiding a fire outbreak this Christmas.

Christmas trees

Whether your Christmas tree is real or artificial, it can be a fire hazard if it’s not looked after properly.

When choosing a real Christmas tree, make sure that it isn’t too old (and therefore, a fire hazard) by checking that:

  • The tree is green
  • The trunk is sticky to the touch
  • It’s hard to pull back the branches
  • Lots of needles don’t break off of the tree when the trunk is bounced against the ground

If a tree doesn’t pass these checks, it’s likely that it has been cut for too long and has probably dried out, making it much more flammable and a fire hazard.

Real Christmas trees are less flammable if kept watered, and if you have an artificial one you should check that it’s fire resistant.

In either case, remember not to place your tree close to any heat sources (such as a fireplace or heat vent). The heat will dry out the tree and cause it to be more easily ignited.

Your tree shouldn’t be put up too early, or any longer than 2 weeks. When Christmas is over, the best way to dispose of your tree safely is by taking it to a recycling centre.

Christmas lights

Taking care of your Christmas lights is important, so that you can avoid sparks flying or anyone being electrocuted by a faulty bulb.

  • Make sure your Christmas lights have the British Safety Standard sign on them, and are bought from a reliable shop
  • Check that they are in good working order, and opt for some new lights if yours are fraying, have gaps in the insulation or have blown bulbs
  • Never overload plug sockets with lots of lights or decorations, as it can cause the wall plug to overheat, making it a fire hazard
  • Always switch off and unplug Christmas lights before you go to bed or leave the house

General fire safety

There are some Christmas fire safety tips that are useful to remember all-year round, such as making sure to put out cigarettes properly and checking your smoke alarms regularly.

  • Candles are a common cause of house fires, so remember to never leave one unattended and to keep them out of the reach of children
  • When cooking up Christmas dinner, make sure you don’t leave it unattended and that you switch off the hob and oven if you leave the house
  • There is always a greater risk of an accident if you’ve been drinking alcohol, so be careful after you or anyone in the household has had a few drinks
  • If you live in a block of flats, keep communal areas clear

We would also recommend that you take the time to check on your elderly relatives during the festive period, as they are at greater risk of fire during this time. Make sure they’re safe and enjoying the holidays as well.