The weather outside is frightful but the fire is so delightful…but only when you know it’s safe.
As the nights draw in and we fill our homes with warmth, lighting candles and fires, it’s wise to remember the dangers of a live flame. Christmas is one of the most dangerous times of year for house fires and UK Home Office fire statistics show that fires are most common in December with candles being the fourth highest cause of accidental house fires.
A little preparation and planning can help you avoid having your holidays and home ruined during the festive season. Below we take a look at some of the most common fireplace risks found in the festive period and list some top tips for keeping you, your loved ones and your home safe this Christmas.
Be careful not to place your tree too close to the fireside, whether real or fake they can pose a serious fire risk. Keep your tree in an open area at least 3 feet away from any heat sources, make sure it isn’t blocking any exits and be careful if lighting any candles nearby.
If you’re choosing a fresh tree, choose one with a healthy green appearance and avoid any that have dry or brown needles that fall off when touched. Keep your tree in a pot or tree stand and water it daily.
If selecting or re-using an artificial tree, make sure it is labeled, certified or identified by the manufacturer as fire retardant.
It goes without saying that electrics and live flames don’t mix. Mantel garlands with fairy lights may look magical but they pose another serious fire risk. If you do chose to use one, just as with candles, do not leave it unattended. Another alternative is to only use these when the fire isn’t lit.
Never leave Christmas lights on when you’re sleeping or out of the house. We’re all seem the Mog Christmas Calamity advert…
If you’re using candles at Christmas, make sure you take extra care to use them safely. Blow out candles before leaving the house or going to bed and make sure you only light them in open, visible spaces. If you have children around, it might be best to leave the candles up high so small hands can’t grab them.
If in doubt, avoid using candles altogether. LED, flameless candles offer a much safer alternative to real candles and will keep flickering for much longer than the real version too!
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.
TEST YOUR SMOKE ALARMS
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.