Whilst Christmas is a time to relax and put your feet up, alongside the eventful trips to supermarkets and toy stores it's being urged that people also place fire safety precautions on their list of things to do before the big day. This is because 20 people a day are either killed or injured in the home during December as a result of a fire which could have been prevented, according to the national government campaign Fire Kills who also released a video demonstrating how a house fire caused by a faulty tree light can demolish a living room in well under a minute.
From paper decorations to long periods spent in the kitchen, here are some top tips for tackling those extra seasonal risks which can destroy homes during the festive period, using the latest advice and statistics provided by fire and flood restoration companies across the country.
When buying your tree for the season if you plan on buying the real thing make sure you purchase one which is fresh to ensure its longevity, paying particular attention to its needles as if they are brittle or shed easily, this will not only make your living room floor messy but also makes them more hazardous in the event of a fire.
A fireplace or radiator when positioned too close to the tree is responsible for causing 1 in 6 fires within homes, which is why it's important when placing your Christmas tree to position it at least three feet away from any heat sources. It's also important that you regularly water your free as dry trees are much more of a fire hazard as they allow flames to spread quickly in a matter of seconds. This is why it's also necessary to remove your Christmas tree from your home as soon as possible once it begins to dry up, as by leaving it in your garage or spare room you're allowing it to become a highly flammable object when could cause major damage to your property in the event of a fire.
Fairy lights are responsible for 1 in 3 Christmas tree fires, which is why it's important to ensure that the lights you use are the best make possible. Most fairy lights will have a label on their packaging which indicates that they have been accurately tested in accordance to health and safety legislation, making it easier for their owners to establish whether they have a dodgy and potentially hazardous product. This is also something to look for when buying new Christmas lights, which should be replaced as soon as their cords become worn or broken and if any of their bulbs become loose. LED lighting, whilst more energy efficient than incandescent, can also start fires as their bulbs tend to reach higher temperatures, so no matter what they're made of never leave your lights on the tree unattended, being sure to unplug them when you go to bed or leave the house.
Flaming up your Christmas pudding with brandy isn't the only potential fire that could be started as a result of cooking, as during the festive period most fires reported start in the kitchen. It's important to remember however to never leave any cooking unattended and to not do too many things at once to prevent your Christmas dinner going up in smoke. You could purchase some buffet snacks or sandwich bites that don't require cooking to help minimise the risk of causing a fire, and remember to turn off all your kitchen appliances, including ovens and stoves, once you have finished preparing your meal.
40% of home decoration fires are started by candles, with December being the peak period for home candle fires. That's why it's advised that you should never place candles on a tree as a decorative feature, instead placing them in a safe location where they cannot be easily knocked over. Also be cautious not to light them near any cards or paper decorations which can easily catch light, and like fairy lights, candles should never be left unattended and they should also be placed in stable holders whilst illuminating your homes.
Alongside making sure that your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are operating correctly, by following these tips and precautions you'll be sure to have a festive and safe Christmas period this year.