Christmas is a special time for celebration and now December is here, lots of people are preparing to hang their stockings and decorate their homes.
However, the festive season brings with it additional fire risks. Here are some things to bear in mind to keep your home safe this Christmas:
• Check the fuses are the right type (see the box for the maximum size of fuse you should use).
• If bulbs blow, replace them.
• Don’t leave fairy lights on when you go out or when you go to sleep.
• Don’t let the bulbs touch anything that can burn easily, like paper.
• Don’t overload sockets.
• Decorations made of light tissue paper or cardboard burn easily.
• Don’t attach them to lights or heaters.
• Don’t put them immediately above or around the fireplace.
• Keep them away from candles.
Special fire safety precautions need to be taken when keeping a live tree in the house. A burning tree can rapidly fill a room with fire and deadly gases.
Click here to watch a video showing how fast a Christmas tree fire spreads.
Selecting a tree for Christmas
Needles on fresh trees should be green and hard to pull back from the branches, and the needle should not break if the tree has been freshly cut. The trunk should be sticky to the touch. Old trees can be identified by bouncing the tree trunk on the ground. If many needles fall off, the tree has been cut too long, has probably dried out, and is a fire hazard.
Caring for Your Tree
Do not place your tree close to a heat source, including a fireplace or heat vent. The heat will dry out the tree, causing it to be more easily ignited by heat, flame or sparks. Be careful not to drop or flick cigarette ashes near a tree. Do not put your live tree up too early or leave it up for longer than two weeks. Keep the tree stand filled with water at all times.
Disposing of your tree
Never put tree branches or needles in a fireplace or wood burning stove. When the tree becomes dry, discard it promptly. The best way to dispose of your tree is by taking it to a recycling centre or having it taken away by a community pickup service.
For more fire safety tips, including how to use candles safely in the home, visit www.fireservice.co.uk/safety