Stay safe this festive season – don’t let fire ruin your Christmas

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While fire safety is important all year round, the festive period can increase the chances of fire due to a number of factors such the use of candles, Christmas lights and heaters. While they are great for creating the perfect festive atmosphere they do carry some risk.

Many will also be sitting back and relaxing, perhaps with a tipple or two, over the holidays but the fact is the risk of accidents is greater after drinking alcohol, so make sure you take the necessary precautions to ensure an accident free Christmas period.

According to research carried out by Lloyds TSB, fire damage increases by more than two thirds over Christmas. So to raise awareness of the extra hazards that are present around Christmas and to ensure you avoid any devastating effects, here are a few tips which you can share with your tenants to help guarantee a happy and healthy Christmas.

Always ensure that you have a working smoke alarm

  • Test your smoke alarm on a weekly basis, don’t neglect to do this over the busy festive season.
  • Never remove the batteries from your smoke alarm, even if you have new toys waiting to be charged. Many rental contracts will state that you should not remove the batteries from safety alarms and some contracts even state that bonds will not be returned if batteries are removed.

Secure decorative lights to ensure electrical safety

Fairy lights and Christmas tree lights don’t get used very often, so you should make sure they are in good working order before using them:

  • Renew old Christmas lights as newer lights meet much higher safety standards. Remember to check older lights for damages and check they have the correct fuse in place as well as replace any bulbs that blow. You want to avoid Christmas tree fires at all cost.
  • Don’t let the bulbs touch anything that can burn easily, like paper or fabrics and other Christmas tree decorations.
  • Always turn Christmas tree lights off when you leave the property and for at least half an hour before going to bed. And to save electricity, remove the plug from the socket too.
  • Be sure to keep trailing cables and wires tucked away neatly – knots in wires can cause surges in power and could cause items such as Christmas lights to fuse.
  • Never overload electrical sockets.

Avoid fire hazards

  • You should also take care to keep ribbons, festive decorations made of tissue paper or cardboard, and greetings cards away from heaters, lights, fireplaces and candles.
  • Never leave a candle unattended for long periods of time.
  • Never leave cooking unattended and try to avoid cooking while drunk.
  • If you are planning to have fireworks as part of your celebrations, always plan ahead and ensure the display is a fair distance from the property.
  • Plan an escape route and make sure your guests know too.

For more advice and guidance on health and safety, you’ll find chapters on fire safety, gas, electricity, furniture and personal safety in the NLA’s online library.

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