The candles, fairy lights and lovingly prepared dinner are all part of what makes the festive season special. However, they also amount to an increased Christmas fire risk.
Last December firefighters experienced a 12 per cent surge in call-outs compared to the usual monthly average. Over the last three years, fire crews have tackled 2,300 fires on Christmas Day.
To help you stay safe this Christmas
Fire safety tips for Christmas
1. Leave matches to cool before throwing away
This is an easy mistake that so many of us make, especially when lighting candles at Christmas time. ‘Always let hot matches cool in a metal or ceramic dish before disposing of them,’ warns Peter.
2. Don’t overcrowd electrical outlets
‘With 50 per cent of domestic fires attributed to electrical faults, seasonal Christmas lighting adds to the overall fire risk unless used correctly,’ points out Peter. Avoid overcrowding electrical outlets, and only use extension cords when necessary.
3. Never run cables underneath carpets
If you are running out of sockets on one side of the room for any decorations or lights, do not be tempted to run them from another socket underneath a rug or carpet. When people walk over the cables this compresses and breaks down the insulation, increasing the fire risk.
‘Keep an eye on sockets and fuses that blow for no reason. Flickering lights and scorch marks on sockets or plugs are easy signs which can alert you to unsafe environments,’ adds Peter.
4. Position candles away from decorations
Candles around the Christmas tree might look pretty, but it is not safe. Make sure your candles are placed on a stable surface away from the tree, decor and soft furnishings.
‘It is also crucial to ensure candles are not placed on top of any materials or wiring that can easily be tripped up on or pulled off surfaces,’ adds Peter. ‘Make sure they are extinguished before bedtime.’
5. Swap candles for LED versions
Faux candles are a great substitute for the real thing if you live in a home with young children and pets who could accidentally knock them over. Brands such as The Range sell a variety of LED tea lights and pillar candles.
It pays to be extra careful at Christmas. Turn off any electrical lights when not in use and don’t leave a candle unattended. You can never be too safe.