Christmas fire safety tips
Follow our top 10 fire safety tips to make sure you're safe this Christmas:
- make sure you have a working smoke alarm and check it weekly
- make a fire action plan so that everyone knows how to escape if there's a fire
- check that your fairy lights conform to the British Standard (BS EN 60598) and aren't faulty
- turn off your tree lights and shut all your doors before you go out or go to bed
- make sure outside lights are designed for that purpose and connect them through a residual current device (RCD)
- stick to the rule ‘one socket, one plug’. Only use ‘strip’-type adaptors; block adaptors are too heavy for the socket
- never put candles near your tree, furnishings or decorations; don't leave them burning unattended and don’t attach decorations to lights and heaters
- don't drink and cook; consider getting a takeaway or stock up with some ‘easy’ snacks
- put cigarettes out properly and never smoke in bed; keep candles, matches and lighters out of the reach of children
- visit less able friends, relatives and neighbours to make sure they are safe and sound
Do not try to tackle a fire. Get out, stay out and call 999.
Advice for buying a real Christmas tree
If a real Christmas tree is allowed to dry out, it can become a fire hazard in your home. Keep the tree well watered as this can significantly reduce the severity of the fire if it catches alight.
Choosing your tree
Needles should be green and hard to pull back from the branches, and shouldn't break if the tree has been freshly cut. The trunk should be sticky to the touch. To test if a tree is old you should bounce the tree trunk on the ground. If lots of needles fall off, it has probably dried out, and it's a fire hazard.
Don't place your tree close to a heat source, like a fireplace or heat vent. It will dry out the tree, causing it to be more easily ignited. Don't drop or flick cigarette ashes near a tree. Don't put your tree up too early or leave it up for longer than two weeks. Keep the tree stand filled with water at all times.
Disposing of your tree
Never put tree branches or needles in a fireplace or wood burning stove as moisture and sap can cause them to burn violently and small explosions can occur that can propel embers across a room. When the tree dries out, discard it straight away. You can take it to a recycling centre or have it taken away by a charity, such as Jersey Hospice Care, or community pickup service.
Greener Christmas (environment and greener living section)