Don’t let fire destroy your Christmas

Posted under Miscellaneous on 21 Dec 2012

The difference between life and death can result from following basic safety tips and warnings. A household’s ability to prevent holiday fires improves with on-going fire safety education.

Cooking is the leading cause of fires in the home in December, accounting for 41% of fires, followed by heating fires at 28% and open flame fires at 9%. Cooking fires peak in December as meal preparation typically generates lots of activity. Cooks may find themselves distracted with holiday guests, entertaining, and last-minute details. Never leave pans unattended or combustible items (tea towels, wooden spoons) too close to the cooking heat source.

Christmas trees… these fires are particularly damaging and injurious.  The location of trees tend to be in common areas – living rooms and other assembly areas that are typically in the heart of the home, fires that begin there can easily spread to other areas. The Christmas tree itself provides an efficient fuel source. Dry fir trees provide both a large surface area for an open flame and resin to fuel quick-burning, hot fires, which quickly spread outside the room of origin.

Christmas creates a considerable increase in candle usage (an open flame source) and can lead to tragedies with children in particular attracted to candles. 14% of annual candle fires occur in December and recommendations for candle safety include the following:

  • Never use candles to decorate a Christmas tree.
  • Keep candles inside a 1 foot circle, free from decorations and other combustible materials.
  • Use sturdy candle holders that won’t tip over easily and are large enough to collect candle wax.
  • Keep candle up high and out of reach of children and pets.
  • Extinguish candles after use.
  • Don’t leave candles unattended.

The percent of children-playing injuries increases during December to 11% The proportion of deaths caused by children-playing fires is surprisingly high during the winter months (13%) and double in December at 26%. The figures spike in the days before Christmas, only to decrease on Christmas Day when parents most likely have time to supervise and engage in their children’s activities. However, his lull remains short-lived, as fires due to children playing again increase steadily until New Year’s Day.

Please contact our office should you wish to enquire about our specialised fire marshal training… 020 7251 9379