House fires during the Christmas period are particularly devastating – and sadly more likely to occur, thanks to additional lighting, heating and all that cooking and drinking. Here are some tips to keep your family and community safe during the festive season.
While you’re enjoying the festivities, try to keep a few small things in mind to prevent a fire starting – because the biggest triggers for house fires are also some of the most avoidable.
They’re beautiful – and the scented ones smell really good, too – but candles are one of the main offenders when it comes to festive fires. We’re not suggesting that you don’t use them at all, just be mindful of placement. Keep candles away from Christmas trees, curtains, paper or flammable materials. Never leave them burning unattended and make absolutely sure to extinguish them before you go to sleep.
Winter can’t always be beaten with central heating. This is roughly the time of year when a boiler breakdown makes things pretty miserable – and when that happens, out come the portable heaters. They’re really cheap to buy in a bind but they can be extremely dangerous.
Aging fan heaters with exposed metal heating elements, full of fluff and a sputtering fan need to be repaired or retired altogether. And even when brand new, be sure to keep them away from fabrics and from tipping over. Make sure they’re turned off before going to sleep.
Simple food gets complicated when there’s lots of it and it’s easy to get distracted in a busy Christmas kitchen. It’s even easier for things to go wrong after a belt or two of scotch, which is why you should do your best to avoid cooking drunk.
Something as simple as a cloth tossed onto a burning hob can be a recipe for disaster. A boozy sauce left unattended on the heat, or baking parchment catching on the hob – any number and combination of things can start a kitchen fire, and kitchen fires are some of the deadliest.
Check Your Smoke Alarms
It’s all too easy to get complacent, especially after a few sherries or a big, sleep-inducing Christmas dinner. Before Christmas comes around, make regular smoke alarm tests a part of your general housekeeping and try to keep the habit going in the New Year.
Help Your Elderly Neighbours and Relatives
In the spirit of Christmas, help those more vulnerable to the dangers of fire in your community and family. Drop in to say Merry Christmas, and help them check their smoke alarms. If you notice any fire hazards, help them to reduce the risk – and maybe even invite them over to share Christmas dinner, if you have any room to spare.
It’s a sad fact that many people are lonely at Christmas time, especially those in their later years. It’s a dangerous time for house fires, and the vulnerable people in our communities are always more susceptible to them. Take care of each other this Christmas.
Fire Protection Experts
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