A dried-out Christmas tree is a disaster waiting to happen – scientific tests carried out recently have shown that they can completely burn out a room in less than 40 seconds – five times faster than a normal room fire.
This could bring tragedy to the festive celebrations so it is important that real christmas trees are not allowed to dry out. Trees should be checked at time of purchase to ensure the trunk feels sticky and the leaves are not falling out. The bottom inch of the trunk should be cut off and the tree should be stood in a sturdy container or a decorative stand with a reservoir. The water should be topped up daily. Old-fashioned metal tree stands without reservoirs should not be used. Trees should be kept indoors for no more than two weeks. Trees should be kept away from fireplaces, candles or radiators, and should not obstruct doors
If you’re getting an artificial tree, check to make sure it is flame retardant.
Christmas tree lights should be manufactured to European standards and be in good condition. Don’t use plug adapters and make sure to switch off christmas tree lights at night or when leaving the house.
Other important Christmas Fire Safety Tips:
- Install a smoke alarm and check it weekly. NEVER remove batteries for toys.
- When going to bed at night, close all doors and switch off electrical appliances.
- Have a fire emergency plan and practice it.
- Keep candles away from curtains, Christmas cards and anything that can catch fire.
- Never leave candles unattended or go to sleep when they are alight.
- Be careful with any decorations placed near the fireplace.
- Visit any elderly neighbours. Smoke alarms make good presents as they are for saving life.
- Never leave your cooker or grill pan unattended as most fires start in the kitchen.
- Make sure cigarettes are completely extinguished.