Staying safe at Christmas

News – 17 December 2021

It’s lovely to see Christmas lights and decorations brightening up the streets, inside and outside our homes, but with so much going on at this time of year, it’s easy to be distracted from important safety rules.

We’ve put together some tips for you, to help you stay safe this Christmas.

Christmas trees

Did you know real trees can catch fire more quickly than a fire retardant artificial one? It might be an idea to consider buying something fake for once! If you do have a real tree:

  • Make sure you keep it well watered, don’t let it dry out.
  • Don’t spray it with hairspray – it’s very flammable – to stop the needles falling off.
  • Keep it away from heat (like a portable heater).
  • Make sure your tree lights are safe (see below).

Lights

Having spent the last year in the loft, it’s easy for your Christmas lights to become electrically unsafe. Here are some useful tips:

  • Always read (and follow) the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Check for loose wires and make sure lights aren’t damaged or broken.
  • Switch off your lights and unplug them before you go out or go to bed.
  • Keep lights away from flammable decorations and materials.
  • Ensure plugs and transformers are plugged in indoors, even if the lights are suitable for outdoor use.
  • Don’t overload sockets and try to avoid extension leads, as they can be a trip hazard.

More advice on lighting can be found here: https://www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk/guidance/product-safety/christmas-lights/

Candles

Using lit candles can be a fire hazard, causing house fires and property damage if they’re left to burn unattended or are placed too close to clothes or furnishings. Here are some important reminders:

  • Use a purpose-made candle holder and place on a heat-resistant surface. Remember that night lights and tea lights can get hot enough to melt plastic.
  • Make sure they won’t fall over.
  • Keep them away from curtains, fabrics and furniture.
  • Keep clothes and hair away from naked flames.
  • Put them out before moving them.
  • Before you go out or go to bed, double check they’re completely out and not still smouldering.
  • Don’t put candles under shelves; there needs to be at least one metre between the candle and the surface above it.
  • Don’t put candles within easy reach of children or where pets can get to.

Chargers

Whether it’s a mobile, a laptop or an e-cigarette:

  • Always use a hard surface to charge your device, don’t use your bed, for example.
  • Don’t leave devices charging overnight.
  • Don’t use cheap, unbranded chargers and don’t overcharge the device (as some adaptors can become a fire risk).

Did you know…

Half of UK women have panicked that they’ve gone out and left their hair straighteners switched on? Switch them off, leave them to cool and then put them away!

One in twelve people leave their Christmas lights on overnight, endangering their household and creating a fire hazard. Give your lights a break and switch them off when you’re not around to enjoy them!

Nearly half of us have got distracted and left our cooking unattended. Watch what you’re heating up and try not to cook when you’ve had one sherry too many!