Top tips for rockin’ around the Christmas tree safely

Christmas is just around the corner, and it’s set to be significantly merrier than last year’s, as in the UK we’ll be able to go and see family and friends. With Google searches for ‘Christmas trees’ now on the rise, as a nation, we’re clearly getting ready to deck the halls and rock around the Christmas tree with our loved ones.

But with all of those lights and flammable decorations lying around, unfortunately, Christmas is a time where accidents can happen which is why we’ve teamed up with Fire Service College to help you have the best festive season ever, safely.

1. Make sure your Christmas lights have passed their safety checks

It’s a good idea when choosing your Christmas tree’s lights to carry out safety checks first. Traditional filament lights can operate at either mains voltage or extra-low voltage, whereas LED lights operate at extra-low only; putting them both at risk of starting fires.

Before you start sorting out your lights, check they’re working and not damaged. You could also check the box they came in, to ensure they have either a British Kitemark or CE marking.

2. The placement of your tree is key

When it comes to Christmas, your tree can be the focal point of your living room, so might  want everyone to see it – but you might want to think twice about putting it too close to any electrical items, or naked flames, as that could cause the tree itself to go up in flames.

To be on the safe side, you could buy a fire-retardant tree, or if you have a real tree, stand it in a water-filled container to keep it well hydrated. You could also place your tree in a room where the door can be closed should the worst happen, and make sure it’s not blocking any exits. You could also purchase a fire-retardant spray to treat your decorations with too.

3. Check you have plenty of electric sockets

You’ve likely got more than just a tree to decorate your home with. We’re all fans of fancy festive decorations that we can place throughout the home or sparkly lights to decorate  the outside of our homes with, but that means we’ll have multiple items that all may need electricity at the same time.

Before you start plugging them in, be sure that you have multiple electrical sockets you can use, rather than relying on numerous extensions, as that could cause an increased fire risk.

You could also make sure that all light switches are turned off and unplugged when you go out or go to bed – and check that your smoke detectors are working.

4. Keep an eye on your pets

Pay close attention to your pets when they’re in the room with the tree – especially cats, who might like to scramble up to the top as they could accidentally damage the cabling. The same goes for little children, who might accidentally pull the tree over, and hurt themselves.

You could also think about having an escape plan in the unlikely event of a fire, and practice it with your children, so you all know exactly what to do should you need to make a quick exit.

5. Keep your presents away from ignition sources

Wrapping up your Christmas presents with the finest paper, and adorning them with a bow or two is all part of the festive fun, but it’s also a key way for the fire to spread. Whilst you might want to place your presents under your tree for a truly festive feel, check that they’re far away from any ignition source – including the control box for your lights – to prevent any unwanted fires from happening.

Before you crack open the eggnog and tuck into a mince pie or three with your loved ones, double-check that you have the right level of buildings and contents insurance for your needs.

Brought to you by the home insurance experts at comparethemarket.com.

Sources:

  1. Search interest collated via Google Search Trends for ‘Christmas trees’ on 03.11.21. The increase in searches as stated is from the 23rd October, predicted up until the 6th November. Queries are also taken from the ‘Related queries’ section (03.11.21).
  2. Survey of 1,002 UK adults undertaken in October 2021 by TLF.
  3. The Fire Service College is a leading organisation for fire prevention and protection, providing assessed, accredited, and assured fire and multi-service training for emergency service professionals globally.