As we approach the festive season, people become more adventurous in the kitchen with Christmas gatherings beginning to take priority. Now that homes are lit with Christmas lights and candles and delicious seasonal dishes are cooking on the stove, fire safety is an increasing concern.
To diminish the fire risks associated with the festive season, experts at Heatingforce collaborated with Alex Ions to get some tips on how to stay safe this festive season.
Top 5 festive season fire risks and how to avoid them
1. Don’t overcrowd electrical outlets
Electrical circuits are designed to handle a limited amount of electricity. Exceeding the rated load for the circuit wiring causes the circuit breaker to trip, shutting off the power to the entire circuit. Christmas lighting adds to the overall fire risk unless used correctly. Avoid overcrowding electrical outlets, and only use extension cords when necessary.
2. Never run cables underneath carpets
If you are running out of sockets on one side of the room for any decorations or lights, do not be tempted to run them from another socket underneath a rug or carpet. When people walk over the cables this compresses and breaks down the insulation, increasing the fire risk.
3. Position candles away from decorations
Candles around the Christmas tree may add to the festive decor, but it is not safe. Make sure the candles are placed on a stable surface away from the tree, decor and soft furnishings. It is important that you never leave them unattended and also put lighters away after using them. After lighting candles, always let matches cool in a metal or ceramic dish before throwing them away.
4. Swap candles for LED versions
Faux candles are a great substitute for the real thing if you live in a home with young children and pets who could potentially knock them over.
5. Do not place your tree close to a heat source, including a fireplace or heat vent.
The heat will dry out the tree, causing it to be more easily ignited by heat, flame or sparks. Be careful not to drop or flick cigarette ashes near a tree. Do not put your real tree up too early or leave it up for longer than two weeks.
Alex Ions gives advice on how to deck your walls sensibly:
“Christmas should be a fun time of year that allows for the creation of a festive space in your home. However, it is important to ensure safety is also put at the forefront. To avoid problems, you shouldn’t hang decorations near candles, fireplaces, Christmas lights, or radiators. Your garland may look like it’s safe above your fireplace but it may accidentally fall down or an ember could catch onto it causing a fire risk.
It is also sensible to minimise decorations in your kitchen. To decrease the danger of a fire starting, keep decorations well away from hobs. When in the kitchen preparing food, you should ensure that you are focussing on what you are doing as it is easy to become distracted by conversation, particularly when you have guests round for Christmas. This seems like a given but can be forgotten when you are in the grips of entertaining and eager to serve up food, but make sure you turn everything off.
Perhaps most importantly, test your fire alarm.”