Staying Safe at Home This Christmas

It doesn’t seem long ago that we were all jetting off on our summer holidays but, Christmas is quickly approaching. Christmas is a wonderful time of the year, full of traditions – where friends and families gather together, eat lots of delicious food and get wrapped up in the Christmas spirit.  A big part of getting in to the festive spirit is filling the house with Christmas decorations, whether it’s a Christmas tree, some not so tasteful tinsel or endless strings of fairy lights. However, the cheerfulness that holiday decorations can bring to a home can cause many people to overlook just how dangerous they can be.

According to NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) decorative lights are involved in 160 reported home structure fires every year with Christmas trees accounting for an additional 230 fires each year. Fires from Christmas decorations cause on average 13 deaths and 34 injuries per year as well as millions of pounds worth of property damage. This is the type of Christmas that no wants to remember, and it’s important that everyone includes safety as part of their holiday traditions.

Staying safe with electrics during the festive holiday season doesn’t have to mean going out of your way to get the best electrical test equipment. The ESFI (electrical Safety Foundation) has launched “Deck the Halls safely for All” campaign which educates people on safe decorating practices and provides important tips on avoiding electrical hazards that are common during this time of year.  The campaign provides people with step to step tips for decorating homes safely from purchasing, assembling and preserving as well as in-depth advice with heating equipment, holiday lighting and cord safety. What’s more, the guide discusses Tamper Resistant Receptacles and Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters safety devices to avoid any property damage, electrical injuries or even worse death.

It’s important to give your home a regular electrical check-up - it doesn’t take long and can make the difference of ensuring you and your loved ones remain safe in your home. Here are just a few aspects to consider:

Switches and outlets – question whether: they work properly, they are warm to touch, discoloured, making any unusual noises, and plugs fit securely.  If your switches and outlets experience any of these problems, it is vital to get them checked out by a licenced electrician.

Cords or wires – question whether: they are cracked or frayed, placed under rigs or carpets, wrapped up while in use and pinched by furniture or doors/windows. Avoid using any cables in this way and replace them as soon as you identify any kind of damage.

Lamps and appliances – question whether: your light fixtures have the correct wattage and if appliance cords are kept clear of hot surfaces. If the bulb wattage is above the recommended for your lamp, it could result in a fire.

To educate the younger generation about the dangers of electricity during the festive period in an entertaining way, The Electrical Safety Foundation have included animated videos and games, so making the process Christmas safety learning fun and rewarding for children.

Staying safe with electrics at Christmas time isn’t difficult and if everyone complies by this guide and consciously tries to incorporate safety into their Christmas traditions, then the reported house fires, injuries and deaths will decrease further, giving everyone the Christmas they want to remember.
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Learn more about Winter Safety including:
- Christmas trees (selecting, transporting and setting up).
- Using “string lights”.
- Safe use of extension cords and outlets.
- Fires, fireplaces and chimneys.
- Using candles.
- Fire extinguishers and fire escapes.
- Dressing for cold weather.
- Working in the cold.
- Walking and driving in ice and snow.
- and more.

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