For many, December means the start of Christmas festivities, including putting up of a Christmas tree. These seasonal delights can be fun for the whole family, but they also come with potential dangers that you should be aware of:
Overloaded Plug Sockets
As a nation, we tend to use a lot of plug sockets when decking the halls – usually from things like fairy lights. Though they can add some cheer and light to your tree, these cheery favourites can also overload and overheat your plug sockets, which can give you a mean electric shock, or even cause flying sparks and fires. With this in mind, it’s no wonder that in the UK Christmas tree lights injure nearly 350 people every year.
How can you avoid this? About 10 million people surveyed by Peabody Housing Association said that they have overloaded their plug sockets from Christmas lights in the last 12 months, and 5.4 million said that they leave they have left their Christmas lights on overnight. So, be sure not to put all your plugs onto one extension cable, and to turn off any and all lights – be they from the tree or elsewhere – when you go to bed or leave the house.
One of the biggest dangers posed by Christmas Trees are fires. A staggering 50% of fire related deaths happen over the Christmas period. These can be started by more than just Christmas lights. Between 2014 and 2016, there were approximately 100 Christmas tree fires and about 1,100 candle fires in the UK, resulting in 10 deaths, 150 injuries, and almost £38.4million in property damage.
As well as avoiding overheating your plug sockets, some preventative measures you can take to avoid Christmas tree and other festive fires are:
- Do not leave open flames from candles or chimneys underneath your Christmas trees
- Check fairy lights for electrical faults like fraying, gnawing, cracking, and water damage and replace them where necessary
- Don’t tuck lights or extension cords under rugs or tree mats
- Keep Christmas lights away from direct light & heat sources like space heaters
- Turn the heating low or off if you’re going out or on a Christmas break
- Don’t place Christmas decorations or other obstructions near exits from the property
- Invest in some fire safety equipment – research has found that most UK residents are not prepared to deal with a house fire. 49% of 1500 people surveyed by Spray-Safe did not have any fire safety equipment in their homes.
- If you have a natural tree, check when it was cut – Fire Services advise that anyone buying a real tree ensure that it has been freshly cut as older trees that were cut too long ago can dry out, making them a dangerous fire hazard.
Another note on real trees, is to ask your vendor to water them for you when you purchase it, and do not water them with the lights turned on, as has been the cause of 26 UK deaths between 1997 and 2010.
Toppling Christmas trees are another potential hazard, particularly if you have little ones and/or pets running around near the tree. Be sure to make sure your tree is secured, especially if you’re needing to use a stepladder to decorate higher branches, as a large number of Christmas A&E visits are caused by people falling from tables etc. to decorate the tree.
Potential harm to pets
It’s not just the risk of falling, Christmas trees can actually be very dangerous if you have a dog. Both real and fake trees, as well as a host of other festive greenery, can be bad news for your canines. For more information on this topic, you can take a look at this blog by TruGreen Lawn care Specialists – one of ServiceMaster’s family of brands.
We at ServiceMaster Restore would like to wish you a safe and happy Christmas. Remember to enjoy yourself and be responsible by following these precautions. And if the worst does happen and your home suffers serious damage from a fire or something else entirely – ServiceMaster Restore will be here to aid with the recovery and restoration.
You can find your nearest ServiceMaster Restore business here.