12 Days of Xmas Safety
Fire Safety in the Home at Xmas
Christmas is a fantastic time, when friends and families get together to enjoy their celebrations, or simply getting together over a drink and a mince pie. Xmas safety shouldn't be disregarded though!
But Christmas brings its own issues for fire safety in the home. There's nothing worse than hearing on the news over the Xmas period how families were devastated by fires in their home, perhaps the most haunting are those stories that involve death from fire. Often, a little Xmas safety checking would've saved lives.
Here are some handy and quick tips to help you, your family, friends and neighbours stay safe in the festive period.
- Christmas Tree Lights: Make sure you check your Christmas tree lights conform to legal standards for your state or country. If you are using outdoor lights, then always use an RCD unit to power them as this might save lives by switching off the power instantly if there's a problem
- Candles: Do not place any candles near your Christmas tree or soft furnishings. Make sure your candles are on a dish that will help absorb the heat, items have been known to catch fire through the dish when the dish simply transfers the candle heat to the item it's stood on. Never leave candles burning unattended. Make sure any dish you put your candle in is large enough to hold all the wax as it melts.
- Decorations: Decorations can can burn very easily. Never attach them to lights and if you're suspending any near where candles might be, then ensure you're attaching them well enough that they won't work lose and hang down over any candles. Never attach decorations to heaters.
- Fire Escape Plan: If you have anybody staying in your house over Xmas, then make sure they know what the fire escape plan is. Where are the doors and windows they could escape from, where are the keys to any windows and doors. If the escape is above ground floor level, make sure they know how/where to go to after they've climbed out of the window, remember it would be dark and they'd not know where to go. e.g. point out where the drainpipe is, or the escape staircase.
- Celebrations and Little Accidents: There's a lot of
celebrating going on over the festive and New Year period, make sure
you pay particular attention to accidents in the home that could occur.
People, children and visitors, will be excitable and less aware than
usual of dangers. The kitchen can be quite a dangerous place if alcohol
is about - make sure hot pans aren't sticking out, hot hobs are kept
clear of cards, decorations and tea towels.
- Electrical Items: Make sure any electrical appliances are switched off when they are not in use, unless they’re designed to stay on. Be extra careful with Christmas lights. When you go to bed at night, unplug Christmas lights at the wall.
- Kitchen Fires: When it comes to a fire starting, the kitchen is the most likely place for a fire to start. Never leave cooking unattended - there is a lot of temptation to do so if you're called to watch somebody open a present, or to be in photos. Then there are door interruptions. Just be extra careful and aware of interruptions when you're cooking. If you do have to answer the door or be called away, simply turn the cooker off while you're absent, in case you get held up and forget you had things cooking.
- Festive Fireworks: Increasingly these days, people are celebrating the festive period with fireworks. Just because it's Xmas, don't be tempted to store them in a box decorated with Xmas paper and bows - ALWAYS store your fireworks in a metal box, boring but safe. If a firework doesn't go off, leave it. Don't go near it to try to light it again. Keep a bucket of water handy, just in case.
- Smoke Alarms: Check the batteries in your smoke alarms every week - for Christmas, why not give them a special clean up and make sure they're clear of dust and dirt and the batteries work. Get some spare batteries in.
- Smokers: Make sure cigarettes are completely extinguished. If you have a party then perhaps you can put a large pot of sand outside in the garden and tell smokers to smoke outside. As there are so many calls on our attention, safety in the home can be compromised more easily than usual. A cigarette left in an ashtray on the arm of a chair, that's knocked off and nestles inside the sofa, can smoulder for up to 1½ hours before it sets fire to the sofa, unnoticed!
- Candles: There are a lot of candles about in most homes over Xmas. Keep your family safe by ensuring that lighters and matches are kept well out of reach of children. Under normal circumstances your usual hiding place for these might be fine, but at Xmas it's more likely the children will go out of their way to recreate a little Xmas magic of their own and light a few candles for Santa!
- Neighbourly Love: Take some time out to check on any elderly neighbours or relatives that live close by. Take this list over to their house and do the fire checks for them. don't forget to take a small package of mince pies too!
Have a Great and Safe Festive Holiday
Well, I hope that didn't make you feel too gloomy! I hope you and your family really enjoy your festive and holiday season safely.
Thanks for reading!