01 December, 2011
With just over three weeks until Christmas, many of
us are starting to prepare our homes for the festive season. Whilst
decorating the house can be fun, there are a few things to bear in
mind so that your family and home remain safe. David Shepherd at
Safety Cornwall Ltd has the following advice:
Christmas trees should not be sprayed with hair lacquer in an
effort to prevent the needles from falling. A lacquered tree will
burn readily. Also bear in mind that real Christmas trees can burn
very quickly indeed if they are left to dry out, so remember to
keep the needles moist.
Decorative lights fitted to trees and elsewhere should be
checked to make sure that there are no missing bulbs or loose
wires, and the plug should be fitted with a 3 amp fuse. Lights
should be kept well away from combustible decorations and should be
unplugged at bedtime or other times when they are not in use.
Non-combustible decorations should be used in preference to
combustible decorations made of paper, or anything else which
easily catches fire. Where paper decorations are used they should
be kept well clear of fires (fixed or portable), lights and any
other electrical equipment or open flames.
All decorations should be kept away from exit/escape doorways
and escape routes - if they do catch fire, this will compromise a
Open fires should always be guarded, and mirrors should never be
placed above any type of fire because they encourage people to move
too close to a fire, risking setting their clothes on fire. Fancy
dress and party dresses may burn particularly well.
Used wrapping paper should be carefully disposed of outside the
Chimneys and flues should be swept at least once every six
months. Portable heaters should be kept away from furniture and
furnishings, in a position where no objects can fall on them. It is
wise to fix them in place so that they cannot be knocked over.
Electric fires should be unplugged at night.
Children should never be left alone in a room where there is a
portable heater, and matches and lighters should always be kept
well away from children.
Real candles should not be used to decorate a Christmas tree. If
you use candles, you should:
o Fix candles in a holder of the correct size
o Keep lighted candles out of the reach of children
o Keep lighted candles away from curtains, decorations and other
o Extinguish candles before retiring for the night
Do not be tempted to `borrow' the smoke alarm battery to
use in a present. Without its battery a smoke alarm is useless and
you would be at a much greater risk from the effects of a fire.
If a fire breaks out, make sure that the door of the room where
the fire is located is closed - this will help to contain the fire
and restrict the spread of poisonous fumes.
Warn the household and get everyone out by the safest route,
then call the Fire Service by dialling 999. Finally, do not go back
in to the house for any reason.
Image source: Chiway on www.flickr.com