Think about fire safety over the Christmas period

Date published: 11 December 2019

Be aware of fire safety over the Christmas period and check in on older or vulnerable people. You should also make sure that everyone in your house knows what to do in the event of a fire and how to escape safely.

Extra fire risks at Christmas

Don't become complacent about fire safety. You should:

  • have a working smoke alarm fitted on all levels of your property
  • test your smoke alarm(s) every week and make sure to replace the battery or the smoke alarm if it isn't working

Christmas is a time when extra fire hazards are in the home, including:

  • candles
  • portable heaters
  • open fires that haven’t been lit for a long time
  • Christmas tree lights
  • overloaded sockets

Fires can start easily. To reduce the risk of fire over the festive period, you should:

  • check that your Christmas lights conform to the British Standard
  • never use lights with worn or frayed cables  
  • turn off lights at night or when you are leaving the house
  • never place candles near your Christmas tree, decorations or furnishings 
  • put candles in a purpose-made holder and on a heat-resistant surface
  • never put candles under shelves 
  • never leave burning candles unattended
  • never attach decorations to lights or heaters
  • never overload electrical sockets  
  • never leave a cooker unattended - most fires start in the kitchen
  • make sure cigarettes are completely stubbed out before going to bed
  • keep candles, lighters and matches out of the reach of children
  • keep heaters away from soft furnishings and decorations

You can find out more about fire safety at the following links:

You should try and celebrate Christmas and New Year safely – the risk of accidents is greater after drinking alcohol.

Older or vulnerable people

Check in with older family, friends, neighbours and those who are isolated in the community and make sure they have a working smoke alarm.

Check their home for Christmas fire hazards and advise them of steps they can take to help ‘STOP’ fire in their home. 

If you're worried about the fire safety of someone in your community you can register them for a free Home Fire Safety Check.

Firefighters will install or check that smoke alarms are working, help to identify any obvious dangers, and advise on an escape plan.

If you hear a neighbour’s smoke alarm going off, don’t ignore it - go and check. If there’s a fire, or if you can’t be sure, phone 999.

More useful links

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