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How to stay safe at Christmas

Christmas is a lovely time of year, full of celebrations and good-will, and so should not end in tragedy because of the extra hazards which are present at this Festive time.

Here we offer some simple and effective advice which will help you protect your property, friends and family from danger and allow you to have a happy and stress free Christmas.

Fairy Lights:

> Check that the fuses are the right type (see the packaging they came in for the maximum size you should use, or take them to an appropriate retailer and get some proper advice)
> If bulbs blow, replace them, don't just leave them dead but in their socket
> Don't leave the fairy lights on whilst you go out (even though they are so pretty to come home to!) and never go to bed and leave them switched on
> Don't let bulbs touch anything which can ignite easily – like paper
> Don't over load your sockets

Decorations

> Decorations made of tissue paper or cardboard can ignite easily and will quickly catch fire
> Don't attach decorations to lights or heaters
> Don't put them immediately above or around a fireplace
> Keep them away from candles

Christmas Trees

> Special fire safety precautions must be taken when keeping a living tree in the house. A burning tree can quickly fill a room with fire and deadly gasses.

> Do not place your tree next to a heat source – such as a fireplace or heat vent. The heat will dry out the tree and this means it can catch fire much more quickly. Be careful not to drop or flick cigarette ash near a tree. It is sensible not to put up your live tree too early or to leave it in situ for more than two weeks. (A quick tip as to how to spot a freshly cut tree: needles on fresh trees should be green and hard to pull back from the branches and the needles should not break if the tree is nice and fresh).

> Once the holidays are over, dispose of your tree sensibly – never put tree branches or needles in a fireplace or wood burning stove. Many Councils have re-cycling centres where you can take your tree – and some communities offer a pick-up service. Check your local press and Council website for details.

Some Do's and Don'ts when dealing with candles

Candles in the home all year round, not just at Christmas, are now extremely popular. Whilst candles mark special occasions and create a lovely, relaxing atmosphere, they also bring fire into your home and should be treated with the utmost respect.

> Always put the candles on a heat resistant surface – be very careful when using night lights and tea lights as these get hot enough to melt plastic.
> Put candles in a proper holder: candles need to be held firmly upright so they don't fall over – and the holder itself needs to be stable.
> Don't put candles near curtains or other fabrics. Remember that flames move in the breeze and can reach out to burn items around them.
> Never place candles under shelves. Candles produce a lot of heat which can begin to set the shelf alight. Make sure there is at least one metre between a candle and any surface above it.
> Keep children and pets away – and never, ever leave a candle burning unattended in a room – even one which is empty. It takes only a stray ember and a fire can start.
> Never carry a burning candle, always extinguish it first.
> Use a candle snuffer or a spoon to put out your candles – blow them is actually quite dangerous as sparks and hot wax can fly and cause burns.
> Double check that your candles are properly extinguished – they can sometimes go on smouldering and start a fire, so be careful.

If you follow our safety tips above, you know that you have done all you can to make sure your decorations don't cause a calamity! Take five minutes to check your home insurance policy to make sure that you are covered for all eventualities over the Christmas holidays. Accidents do happen – and somehow they always seem worse at Christmas time, so make sure you are safe and secure and that the holiday season is a truly happy one. If you have any concerns about your insurance policy, just give one of our friendly and professional team at Westhill Insurance Services a call – they will delighted to help you and to make sure you have the cover you need to keep your home and loved ones safe and happy.

Contact Westhill Insurance Services, today.

Posted on 24th December, 2012