It seems large stores and supermarkets get their Christmas aisles fitted out earlier and earlier each year. This is largely because such places have a ‘seasonal’ aisle and most places don’t make that much from Halloween. Just know that the minute Christmas is over, these self-same aisles will be dressed up with chocolate eggs and bunnies.
Christmas is also a time that can be fraught with danger, as people tend to use a lot more gas and electricity when it’s dark and cold. There have been a number of high-profile fires recently, so to prevent yourself from becoming another of these very depressing statistics here are some tips to keep yourself safe over the Christmas period.
1. Overloaded Plug Sockets
The older your house or flat is, the more likely that it will not have nearly enough plug sockets for swishy modern life. Everything that most people may consider an essential part of life runs on electricity these days, from mobile phones to laptops to gaming consoles.
If you’re one of those families who like to do Christmas right, you’ll likely festoon your house with millions of fairy lights and other decorations. Depending on the age of your residence, this will mean lots of adaptors and extension cords which any fire safety officer will tell you ups the risk of malfunction and fire.
So unless you can move to a more modern residence that is adequately prepared for the 21st century, be vigilant about the use of extension cords and adaptors; make sure they’re safe for use with multiple items and, where possible, that they have safety features such as surge protectors and automatic cut-outs.
2. Combustible Decorations
Let’s be honest, a lot of Christmas decorations are not the best quality. They’re usually cheap and made from dubious materials that can catch fire easily. Every year at this time we hear horror stories of family Christmases gone badly wrong, thanks to or exacerbated by an excess of deeply flammable material in people’s houses.
We don’t mean to play Scrooge here by shouting “bah humbug” at the very notion of Christmas so we don’t wish to discourage you from dressing up your residence at this type of year Just be aware that decorations can be highly flammable and keep them away from exposed flames or anything that generates heat.
3. Relatives, Friends and Neighbours
As the weather gets colder, it’s not just your own household you should be concerned about. The cold can especially affect old people so be sure to check on elderly friends, relatives and neighbours, who will be using electric and gas fires more often.
It’s always helpful to just have a check on where fires and heaters are positioned and, if possible without looking like you’re casing the joint, to do some basic fire checks on their residences as they may not be aware of fire safety and the range of flammable materials they may have in their homes.
4. Christmas Lights
As with a lot of Christmas decorations, fairy lights can be very poor quality. Having so many individual bulbs greatly increases the possibility of burnouts and electrical surges, which very often lead to fires. As a result, it is highly recommended that you turn off any Christmas lights overnight or even when you’re not in the room. For greater reassurance unplug the lights from the socket altogether when they’re not in use.
5. Safety Signage
To ensure your fairy lights and Christmas decorations are safe, there is no better way than to check whether it has any safety signs. Most Christmas lights should have the British Safety Council logo or, if they’re made outside of Britain, the Conformité Européenne (European Conformity), which means they have been tested to a sufficient degree and passed health, safety and environmental standards.