Jane Embury takes a look at fire safety over Christmas.
It’s that time of year again. A time for Festive jollity.
But at the risk of appearing like the Grinch, do celebrate sensibly.
The UK government has published advice on keeping fire safe this Christmas. For example, to check your Christmas tree lights carry the British Safety Standard sign. Or to never place candles near your Christmas tree or materials that can catch light easily.
It sounds like obvious advice, but fire risk rises over the Festive period. Many homes are decorated with paper decorations, candles and, of course, Christmas trees.
Take a look at this video from the London Fire Brigade showing the alarming speed at which a Christmas tree can burn.
America’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has also made an alarming video advising us to water our Christmas trees.
Their point is that a dry tree burns quickly, while a watered tree doesn’t burn with the same speed.
However, don’t be stupid. Several dozen UK citizens have died over the past 15 years by watering their Christmas tree while the Christmas lights were plugged in.
Tragically, people are 50% more likely to die in a house fire over Christmas than at any other time of year. The main culprit for Christmas tree fires is faulty lights.
The lessons are to have LED lights which don’t emit heat, and to switch them off at night. And don’t position the tree next to flammable materials such as curtains.
Also, don’t overload sockets and make sure that every plug has an appropriate fuse.
According to an online first-aid website, 350 people a year are injured by Christmas tree lights, including falls while they are being put up, children swallowing the bulbs, and electric shocks and burns.
RoSPA says that more than 1,000 people each year are hurt while decorating their Christmas tree, usually whilst fixing decorations to the highest branches.
Another survey showed 2.6million people have fallen while using unstable chairs or stools whilst putting up decorations. Use a ladder.
One in 50 (2.1%) of people have fallen out of their loft while getting decorations down. 8% of those aged 16-24 have had to make a trip to A&E during the festive season.
First Aid for Life quotes figures from the NHS that show more than 80,000 people a year need hospital treatment for injuries such as falls, cuts and burns during the Festive period. Six thousand of these needing to be admitted.
Another fire risk are candles. The London Fire Brigade says that there is an average of 21 candle fires a month between February and October. But that rises to 29 fires a month during November, December and January.
Food poisoning is always a worry at Christmas. So much so that the NHS has guidelines to cooking turkey safely.
According to recent survey, 49% of respondents have suffered an accident whilst preparing Christmas food. One in 10 having spilled hot fat on themselves and one in five cutting themselves whilst preparing vegetables.
Most risks can easily be anticipated and avoided – keeping stairs clutter-free, for example.
As international specialists in advanced glazing systems, mainly to contain fire and protect escape routes, we wholeheartedly endorse all safety advice.
We know how most fires start from only the smallest of causes, but also how fire can quickly get out of control.
Have a happy (and safe!) Christmas.
Jane Embury is a director f Wrightstyle