Christmas is the most hectic time of the year for many of us, but we should still take the time to ensure that our personal safety, and that of our loved ones, isn’t put at risk over the course of the festive season.
Christmas Tree Safety
Care should be taken when bringing a live Christmas tree into the home, including where it’s placed
(i.e. not near a lit fireplace or heaters), and what it is placed on it. A live Christmas tree, in the event of it catching fire, can burn very quickly and fill a room with fire, smoke and potentially life-threatening gases. The tree stand should always be filled with two to three litres of water as a preventative measure. It’s best to buy a tree that has been freshly cut – as it will pose less of a fire threat than an old, dry tree. Determining whether a Christmas tree is old and dry can be done by seeing if a lot of needles fall off when the tree is banged on the ground. If many needles do fall off, this will prove that the tree has dried out. It’s important to also remember that a freshly cut tree should only be kept in the home no longer than a fortnight, as it will soon become dry. The tree can then be recycled when the Christmas period is over.
Lights And Decorations
Fuses for fairy lights should be checked to determine that they are the appropriate type. There will be instructions on the box that will tell you the maximum size, regarding the right fuses to use. Bulbs should be replaced if they are faulty and blow, and sockets shouldn’t be overloaded. Never leave fairy lights on if you’re not in the property, and remember to switch them off when you go to bed. Keep anything that can be set alight quickly, such as paper, away from the bulbs. Paper-related decorations, including those made of cardboard or tissue paper, have a tendency to burn easily. Consequently, they shouldn’t be attached to either heaters or lights. Decorations also shouldn’t be placed above or around a fireplace, and shouldn’t be put anywhere near candles.
Don’t throw wrapping paper or other discarded Christmas-related materials onto a fire. Don’t use a Christmas tree as a source of firewood either. A screen should also be placed around the fire to offer protection from any possible flying sparks.
Candles should both be in a proper holder, and only be placed on heat resistant surfaces. They shouldn’t be placed near a TV or night lights for instance. Each burning candle should be kept a minimum distance of four inches apart, and should be extinguished first if you decide to move them. A candle shouldn’t be placed anywhere near curtains or clothes. They should also be positioned so that children and pets can’t reach them. Don’t leave a candle burning when it’s time to go to bed, or when you go out.