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Home and living

Christmas fire safety tips

Last updated: December 2022

We don’t want to put a dampener on your Christmas festivities, but three of the things that make Christmas so special, cooking, candles and fairy lights can also be great fire risks.

But don’t worry - fires in the home are often easily prevented, so these Christmas fire safety tips from Fire Protection Online will help make sure you’re prepared.

1. Think carefully about where you place decorations

When placing your cards and decorations, be mindful of where you put them. Avoid placing them directly next to your heating, cooking appliances and lighting, as well as not blocking the routes in and out of your home.

2. Keep an eye on candles

For many, candles are a Christmas essential. But as you’d expect from any naked flame, they’re also a fire hazard – in fact, candles and incense burners sparked 1016 fires from 2019-20 according to the Home Office Fire and Rescue Service statistics.

Top tip: Why not try battery-operated candles to avoid unexpected accidents? They’re far less likely to set fire to your furnishings!


3. Switch off the lights

Avoid leaving lights switched on when you’re not at home over the Christmas period, especially if you have older fairy lights that might not meet today’s standards. Unlike modern LED bulbs, older lights are prone to overheat and break. Put them on a real Christmas tree and they could cause a fire! It’s also a good idea to avoid overloading your plug sockets.

Top tip: If you’re worried about your house looking empty while you’re away over Christmas, put your inside lights on timers so they switch on for an hour or two in the evening to discourage potential burglars.

4. Avoid distractions when cooking

With everyone wanting your attention to open presents and play games, cooking Christmas dinner for your whole family can be a very stressful time. Give yourself enough time to prepare and cook Christmas dinner to avoid hot fats, boiling water and burnt food.

Try to avoid distractions whilst cooking and don’t leave the oven unattended - it only takes a few moments for a fire to start.


5. Have a drink… after you’ve finished cooking

Try to avoid drinking alcohol until after you’ve finished cooking. That’s the time to sit down, relax, and enjoy your meal with your tipple of choice without the risk of a clumsy moment!

6. Invest in a fire blanket

It’s essential to have a fire blanket in the kitchen, and they’re usually not too expensive to buy.

Should a small pan fire start, turn the heat off and carefully place the fire blanket over the flames. But remember, it’s important not to tackle any fires if you could put yourself in danger - call the fire service instead.


7. Check your smoke alarms

Fires where a smoke alarm was not present accounted for 26% of all dwelling fire-related fatalities in 2019/20.

With lots of people and potential hazards in your home around Christmas, now is a good time to check your smoke alarms are in proper working order. If they aren’t and changing the battery doesn’t work, make sure you replace it urgently or call out an electrician for assistance.

8. Make sure electricals are CE marked

When buying electricals, avoid the temptation to buy cheaper products and make sure they’re CE marked. This means they’ve undergone stringent checks so you know they’re safe, and avoids disappointing gifts!

9. Have a contingency plan

It may be uncomfortable to think about, but you should consider what you’d do in an emergency. Have a Plan A and B for how you’d get out of your home in the event of a fire, and make sure your whole family is aware.

Find out more about fire safety in your home.

To stay up-to-date with the latest guidance around COVID-19, please visit the government website.

10. Make sure your home and belongings are protected

With the increased risk of fire, theft and property damage over the winter months, it’s important to check that you have sufficient insurance in place, and that you understand what cover is provided under your policy.

Looking to protect the belongings in your student home?

Find out more about student contents insurance today.

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