Equity’s guide to keeping your home safe at Christmas

During the festive season many of us celebrate with Christmas decorations and making our homes seasonal. We want to offer some advice to keeping your home safe this Christmas and reduce the risk of fire. 

Christmas trees

Non-flammable or flame-retardant artificial trees minimise risk and should be a first consideration. However, we understand that many people prefer a traditional natural tree. These may present a significantly greater risk of causing a fire, but there are some simple steps that you can take to reduce the risk:

Caring for your tree 

Do not place your tree close to a heat source, this will dry out your tree causing it to be more easily ignited by heat, flames or a spark. Do not put your live tree up too early. Keep the tree stand filled with water at all times. 

Disposing of your tree  

Never put tree branches or needles in a fireplace or wood burning stove. When the tree becomes dry, discard it promptly. The best way to dispose of your tree is by taking it to a recycling centre. 

Maintain your tree lights

Inspect lights each year for frayed wires, bare spots, gaps in insulation, broken or cracked sockets and excessive kinking before putting them up. Use only approved lighting. 

Do not overload electrical outlets

Do not link light strands unless the directions indicate it is safe. Make sure to periodically check the wires - they should not be warm to the touch. 

Consider the location

Often customers will move furniture around to accommodate their Christmas tree, make sure that you don't move furniture to obstruct electric radiators, doorways and escape routes. 

Do not leave Christmas lights on unattended. 

Christmas decorations

All decorations should be non-flammable or flame retardant and placed away from heat vents. 

Avoid using lit candles  

If you do use them make sure they are in stable holders and place them where they cannot be easily knocked down. Never put lit candles on a tree.

Do not go near a Christmas tree with an open flame - candles, lighters or matches. 

Finally, as in every season, have working smoke alarms installed in your home, test them monthly and keep them clean. Know when and how to call for help and remember to be clear on your fire emergency plan - it could save your life and those of your family members.