Here’s a short list of things to watch out for to make sure it’s only the chestnuts that are roasting on an open fire this year.
1. Nothing beats the smell of a real Christmas tree, but make sure your tree is away from heaters and fires, and remember to water your tree to avoid the branches and foliage becoming dry and flammable.
2. Faulty lights are a serial cause of electrical fires. If you’re adorning your tree or house with lights, make sure you inspect the cables and the fuse bulb (it’ll be a different colour to the other bulbs) regularly, use an RCD socket if you can (the ones that shut off automatically if there is a fault), and don’t overload the socket. Make sure the lights have the CE mark, showing they meet the European standard for safety.
3. And, whilst we’re on lights, make sure you switch them off when you leave the house or go to sleep.
4. Decorations can burn easily, so don’t attach them to your lights or heaters – no matter how nice they might look.
5. Make sure you have enough space around your menorah, or other candles, and don’t leave burning candles unattended. Keep lighters and matches in a safe, out of reach place.
6. Forgot the Brussels sprouts or cranberry sauce? Make sure you don’t leave your cooker unattended if you’ve got anything on the hob or in the oven. And slow cookers are great for soup and mulled wine, but as This Is Us taught us, don’t leave it on overnight.
7. Why are wreaths on doors a fire hazard? Truth be told they aren’t, but we do have a zero-tolerance policy in our communal areas because a lot of items people leave around are fire hazards or obstacles, such as pot plants, bikes and shoe racks. This unfortunately means we do need to be The Grinch when it comes to wreaths or other decorations outside your home.
8. In the spirit of festive fellowship, check in on your neighbours. Vulnerable people are at an increased risk of electrical fires, so give them a hand to make their home fire safe, too. And share a mince pie of course!