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Fire Safety at Christmas

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What Poses a Risk?

With so much to think about this festive season, ensuring fire safety should be one of your top priorities. Each year, Christmas trees and partnering decorations are responsible for many fires that can lead to casualties. Candles alone have caused around 1,000 fires in a single year!

Knowing how to prevent fires this Christmas can help ensure a smooth operation throughout the whole festive period, and ensure that all of your guests, employees and site users are safe.

Know The Risks!

Just like putting wood on an open fire, Christmas trees, no matter how festive, are strong fuel for a burning fire.

Even if you do not have a real tree at Christmas, it is vital that you make sure to purchase an artificial tree that is fire-retardant. Doing so won’t prevent a fire completely but it will significantly increase the time taken for flames to catch and spread.

Having your Christmas tree in a room full of furniture always poses the potential risk of going up in flames if these risks are not prevented.

Make Sure It's Fresh!

Even with how realistic artificial trees are getting nowadays, we all know the appeal of choosing a real tree!

 This year, if you’re choosing to buy a real tree, the number one thing to look out for is that you’re not picking up an outdated one. Aged trees are a lot drier causing them to be more flammable. A strong green colour and a noticeable fragrance should be a good indication of a healthy new tree. To give it a check, tap it on the ground and make sure that only a few needles drop off.

Keep It Watered!

Christmas trees can drink up to two pints of water a day! In order to stop your tree from drying out, it should be stood in a bucket of water to ensure that they have constant access. This bucket should be frequently topped up when you start to see the level get low!

A well-watered tree holds moisture which prevents a fast spread of flames. It will still catch fire but it will take longer, meaning there’s more time to deal with the issue or escape.

Christmas Lights!

Christmas lights are one of the most popular decorations for all Christmas trees! Both domestic and commercial properties use them to brighten up their premises but Christmas lights can pose a significant fire risk.

The following steps, highlighted by the Fire Service, should be taken when lighting up you tree:

  • 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

Safe Decorations!

Worryingly, there are many tree decorations that are made from flammable substances. These decorations include materials such as tissue paper, cardboard, card and wood.

You should never attach any decorations made from these substances to any lights or heaters and should keep them separated from candles. Decorations and greeting cards directly above or around a fireplace can also pose a significant ignition threat.

Overloading Sockets!

Overloading sockets are dangerous at any time of year but at Christmas, there’s normally a lot more than needs to be plugged in. Do not be tempted to overload sockets unsafely. Here are some tips on safely using sockets:

  • Only use one socket extension lead per socket
  • Never plug an extension lead into another extension lead
  • Check the wattage of each individual appliance
  • Use a multiway bar extension lead rather than a block adaptor
  • Check sockets regularly for changes/overheating/marks