Christmas Safety Tips
How to stay safe this festive season
Ho ho ho! The festive season is in full swing and homes across the UK are sparkling with fairy lights and plenty of Christmas cheer.
But are you taking dangerous risks with your safety during the holidays?
We've highlighted some common things that may be putting you and your family in danger, with some simple tips to help you stay safe.
Christmas lights brighten up homes across the UK but can be a huge electrical safety risk. One in twelve people confess to leaving their Christmas lights on overnight, potentially endangering their households as lights can overheat and create a fire hazard.
42% of people in the UK care more about how well-lit their home is than how safe the lights and wiring are – putting their homes at risk of blackouts and even fires, according to the experts.
1. Don’t overload sockets and try to avoid the use of extension leads or adaptors – it’s easy to trip if you’re a bit too merry!
2. Give the lights a break - switch them off when you're not there to enjoy them.
3. Use outdoor lights that are certified safe for external use. If you are unsure, check the manufacturer’s instructions or keep the lights indoors.
4. Only switch them on when you're awake and at home. Leaving them on all day wastes power (incurring a high energy bill!) and puts your home at risk of short-circuiting.
5. Only use Christmas lights from reputable stores that have been certified with by the European Standards Symbol (represented by a CE) and the British Standards Kitemark. Never buy second-hand lights unless you’ve had them professionally checked.
6. Use LED lights that are battery powered. This type of fairy light can save energy, and many are just as bright as their mains-powered counterparts. They’re also safer, and their bulbs are less likely to get hot. The only downside is you can’t use them outside.
7. You may think they’re unsightly, but don’t run the cables under the carpet or anywhere they could be damaged.
8. Leave the lights as they are. It may be tempting to rewire your lights to include 2, 3 or sometimes even 4 sets of lights on a single plug. However, this could cause a fire so should be avoided.
9. Keep obstructions or presents away from plug sockets so they don’t overheat. Make sure your smoke alarm is working in case there are any fires.
10. Consider dedicated outdoor plugs for your outdoor lighting. An electrician can install specialist outdoor plugs if you can’t do this yourself – they need to be weather and waterproof. It will mean power is distributed more evenly, with less risk of fire and other electrical complications.
Cooking up a festive feast!
Nearly half of us have admitted to leaving cooking unattended - and with a house full of family and friends celebrating Christmas it's easy to get distracted.
1. Never leave any cooking unattended, whether that be on cookers or stoves - these can be dangerous if you're not fully focused with alcohol, friends, family/children about it's easy to get distracted!
2. Install a smoke detector close to your kitchen to detect smoke.
3. For stoves and cookers, light the burner with caution if it is operated by gas. Make sure they are clean and unclogged of food and grease before use
Real Christmas tree's are a popular choice when it comes to turning your home into that perfect winter wonderland. But, did you know that a real tree can catch fire a lot quicker than an artificial one, so consider buying one of the fabulous fakes that are available!
If you do have a real Christmas tree:
1. Make sure that you keep it well watered. Real trees can absorb up to a litre of water a day and it's important that you don't let it dry out.
2. Keep it well away from heat sources, particularly portable heaters, gas fires etc.
3. Make sure your lights are safe.
To finish off the safety tips, how about some fun Energy based Christmas facts.
Even though Thomas Edison invented the first light bulb in 1879, electric Christmas tree lights were not in use until 1882. Edward Hibberd Johnson, also called the Father of Electric Christmas Tree Lights, had tree light bulbs especially made for him and proudly displayed his Christmas tree at his home in New York. Since then, the popularity of electric Christmas tree lights grew and now we can’t even imagine Christmas without beautifully lit up Christmas tree.
Christmas Day is the only day of the year when demand for electricity doesn’t peak at teatime.
Christmas lights don’t crash the grid. As lights all tend to come on at the same time and then stay on (rather than being switched on and off at different times) their impact on overall demand for electricity is negligible.