Did you know that there’s a spike in domestic fire-related incidents during the festive period each year?
Indeed, it’s estimated that almost 80,000 people are hospitalised each Christmas due to fire-related injuries, while the risk of death in a house fire increases by a shocking 50%.
Fire-related accidents in the home are also said to increase by 100%.
FD30 and FD30S fire doors are one way to protect and save lives in the event of a house fire, but which hazards do people need to be wary of if they are to prevent fires from happening in the first place?
Read on to learn more.
Make Sure Your Fire Alarm Is Working
OK, so before we go into the actual likely causes of house fires at Christmas, the one thing you should check before anything else is whether your fire alarm is functioning properly.
According to the fire service, ‘you are twice as likely to die in a house fire that has no smoke alarm than a house that does’. That says it pretty starkly, doesn’t it?
Who among us hasn’t taken the batteries out of a fire alarm in the past to stop that incessant blasted bleeping when you’ve burnt your toast? Come on, we’ve all done it. But we really, really shouldn’t because – annoying as that noise might be – it’s there to save lives and your property.
But, hey, maybe your fire alarm isn’t as sensitive as all that, and doesn’t go off when smoke comes pouring out of the oven because you’ve overcooked the kids’ chicken nuggets again? Yeah, well, it might be that your battery is low or your fire alarm is faulty. If so, you need to get that seen to in order to keep your loved ones safe.
Christmas is as good a time as any to test that fire alarm (it’s incredibly easy to do yourself – just follow the instructions on the label), so that you’re confident it will alert the household in the event of a fire.
When it comes to fire, ‘safe’ is infinitely better than ‘sorry’.
Don’t Get Forgetful About Candles
Candles are lovely, and are in increasingly high demand. They lend a special atmosphere to a room, especially at Christmas.
But candles are as dangerous as they are beautiful, if you don’t treat them with respect and care.
According to official figures, candles were responsible for 2% of reported home fires, 3% of home fire deaths, 6% of home fire injuries, and 4% of direct property damage in home fires during the period 2015-2019.
The thing is that it’s so easy to become complacent about candles or even forget about them.
You’d be far from alone if you’d ever lit some candles, got cosy on the sofa in front of a Christmas film, fallen asleep after a couple of glasses of wine and woken with horror to find that the candles are still alight. Phew, got away with it that time – but you may not be so lucky on the next occasion.
Equally, kids and pets are plonkers, so try to find ways to mitigate against the risk and likelihood of them knocking over lit candles, burning fingers or singeing fluffy tails.
O Christmas Tree Oh No Christmas Tree!
Remember that classic bit in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation when that horrid uncle sets the Christmas tree on fire with his cigar?
But actually not that funny for you if your Christmas tree sets alight – and it happens a lot more than you probably think.
You need to be very careful about fire risks when you’ve got a living tree in the house because a burning tree can go up very quickly and overcome a room with fire and lethal toxins.
The most obvious thing to say is that you shouldn’t flick cigarettes or cigars anywhere near a Christmas tree (and, hey, we all know how much of a fire hazard tobacco products are in general; not to mention the devastating impact they can have on your health) because a Christmas tree fire could get out of hand very quickly.
It also probably goes without saying that you shouldn’t keep open flames like lit candles anywhere near a Christmas tree; an, of course, keep Christmas trees away from fireplaces or heat vents because being exposed to too much warmth will cause the tree to dry out and be ignited by flames or sparks.
Also, be sure to keep your living Christmas tree in water to make sure it doesn’t dry out and become extra flammable.
If Looks Could Kill
Fairy lights and other electrical Christmas decorations may look very pretty, but they can also be extremely dangerous.
Here are some top tips to avoid risks of danger:
- OK, they’ve been in the family ages and they seem to largely work fine each year. But please don’t use old fairy or Christmas tree lights. Put your hand in your pocket and pay for new lights with modern safety standards
- Talking of safety standards, make sure your lights carry the appropriate fire safety certification labels. Only buy from a trusted source
- Make sure connecting wires aren’t tangled or at risk of getting damaged
- Carefully inspect cables and bulbs for damage
- Tempting as it is to, don’t leave fairy or Christmas lights on in an empty room – and don’t let kids or pets muck around with them
Other Christmas Fire Safety Considerations
Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, and we don’t want you to spend it in a permanent state of anxiety fretting about fire hazards in your home.
A lot of this guidance is common sense. But it’s amazing how blasé even the smartest people can be about fire risks.
Aside from the above, there are other things to bear in mind, like:
- buying the right batteries for children’s toys
- avoiding faulty electrical appliances
- not hanging stockings and the like above a working fireplace
- keeping decorations, cards and wrapped gifts away from flames or heat sources
Good forward-planning and fire safety awareness will result you in dramatically minimising any risks of fire.
But if the worst does happen, people with fire safety systems and solutions in place like FD30 internal fire doors will be much more likely to avoid tragedy.
Want to learn more about FD30 and FD30S fire doors, and how they protect lives and property?