Avoid a Christmas Calamity
It’s the most wonderful time of year. Sadly, it’s also the most hazardous for both people and their homes with accidents far more prevalent than at other times of the year. They aren’t inevitable though and there are some basic safety tips you can follow to help keep your home safe this Christmas.
Let’s get the really grim statistic out the way here. People are 50% more likely to die in a fire at Christmas. That’s awful so here are some ways you can help avoid fires in the festive season.
It’s very tempting to pull out the same Christmas decorations, including lights, year in and year out. The problem with this is older Christmas lights are far more prone to the sorts of faults that cause fires than modern ones. Even with modern lights though, it is worth giving them a thorough look over – while you’re untangling them! – to make sure there aren’t any obvious issues with wires being chewed by rodents or broken bulbs etc.
Most importantly, don’t forget to turn them off when you go out or go to bed.
Similarly, older artificial trees are less likely to be fire retardant than modern ones and lots of decorations are highly flammable. With real trees, they are, obviously, made of wood so you need to try to make them as fire resistant as possible. Keeping them well watered is a good start as the dryer they are, the easier they burn. Some Christmas trees can take up to two pints of water a day so it’s something you really need to keep on top of. Be sure to turn the lights off at the mains before you water the tree though. The fresher the tree the better too. Obviously, it’s wise to keep them away from candles or open fires.
‘Tis the season to use an extension cable to plug in lights and new gadgets etc. so it is very easy to get into the habit of attaching them together and risking overloading sockets.
Fire isn’t the only hazard at Christmas. As it’s a time of year lots of people go away and leave their house empty in cold weather, frozen pipes and, thus, water damage can be a serious issue too. Heating an empty house feels like a very wasteful and un-environmentally friendly thing to do but leaving the heating on low while you’re away for Christmas is a good idea to stop the pipes freezing. Opening cabinet doors and loft hatches too is a good idea to let the warmer air circulate around those hidden pipes. Make sure outside pipes and attic pipes are as well insulated as possible.
However, if you are going away for a longer period of time, it is worth draining the water from your system completely so you know that freezing can’t be an issue.
It sounds daft but we have seen people damage their guttering and roofs when putting up or taking down Christmas decorations. This can lead to water getting in and causing issues so please be careful with those house decorations.
It’s really heartbreaking when Marc gets called in to help with a reinstatement specification for a house that’s had a fire over Christmas so we hope everyone will keep safe this season. If you do know anyone who is unlucky enough to have an issue like flooding, water ingress or fire this December, please put them on to Marc to get it put right by calling 01273 281624 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.