As we move closer to Christmas the festive season is going to hit us hard with twinkling fairy lights, decorative ornaments, presents and the Christmas spirt! But throughout all this joy and cheer could you possibly be doing things that put you more at risk? We created this handy blog to highlight some of the activities that could be putting you at risk and how you can minimise the risk whilst still having all the fun!
Arguably one of the best parts of Christmas is all the decorations that line the streets, our homes and businesses to really amp up that festive feeling. But what you might not realise as you deck the halls is that as homes light up with Christmas lights across the UK they can become a massive electrical safety risk.
How to use Christmas Lights safely
After 12 months of being stored away in the attic in a box some lights can become electrically unsafe, so you should always follow some simple safety precautions and checks when busting out the lights!
- Read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for set-up and use
- Use the lights for their intended purpose
- Use replacement bulbs that are the same type and rating as the originals
- Switch your lights off and unplug them before you go to bed
- Ensure lights are away from flammable decorations or furnishings that could easily burn.
- Consider using a timer to ensure that your lights are not left on for too long at a risk of overheating.
- Use lights outdoors unless they are specifically designed for that purpose.
- Connect lights to a power supply whilst still in the packaging
- Overload sockets; although extension leads might have up to five sockets, it is not always safe to use all five at the same time.
- Replace lamps/bulbs whilst the lights are connected to a power source
- Attempt to repair faulty lights; you should replace them.
- Use lights that are damaged or faulty.
How can I avoid overloading sockets?
Ensure that you check the rating of an extension lead before plugging any appliance into it. They can range from 13A (which is most common) and lower, with the rating being clearly marked on the back or underside of the extension itself. You can always refer to the manufactures guide for more assistance.
Another important thing to remember is that you should never plug an extension lead into another extension lead, only one extension lead should be plugged into one socket.
How do I put up decorations safely?
- Keep real trees away from heat sources.
Place your tree away from heaters and fireplaces. Live trees can be extremely flammable from the needles and sap with the risk only increasing with the presence of flammable decorations.
- Work as a team
When putting up decorations that are above your normal reach, ensure you use a proper ladder with someone supporting the base.
- Secure candles
Keep candles on a sturdy, flat surface to prevent them from tipping and never leave them unattended.
- Consider using a fake tree
Although an unpopular choice for most, you can get trees that are fire resistant which will lower your risk.
If it isn’t all the lights that you love around Christmas time, then it is definitely the food. Glorious spreads filled with flavour and a few glasses of festive cheer are always present at Christmas but many people admit to leaving cooking unattended!
With a house full of family and friends it is easy to get distracted as the holiday host but you need to keep an eye on what you are cooking to ensure that a risk isn’t created and also that it doesn’t burn!
Driving Home for Christmas?
Luckily in the UK our winters consist of mostly rain with only a few places getting heavy snow. However, wherever you live, whether snow or not, driving in much colder weather calls for a higher attention.
- De-ice and remove any snow from your vehicle
Clearing your windscreen is an obvious thing for most, but you need to make sure that all ice and snow is removed from your car. By leaving anything on the roof of your car, whilst driving it could potentially fall of and block your view or other road users.
- Check road conditions and give yourself extra time
Check your local road conditions before driving, this will allow you to take the best route and allow yourself more time to get to your destination safely.
- Slow down
Reduce your speed and expand the space that you are giving other road uses to account for unpredictable actions and the risk of black ice.
- Be cautious on public transport
It is vital that we all play our part in reducing the spread of Coronavirus, and that means being sensible and cautious when out and about. If you are taking the bus, train, or coach home this Christmas make sure to maintain social distancing and only travel if you are free from any symptoms. Remember hands, face, space.
Holiday Shopping Safety
Unfortunately, there are still those Grinches out and about that don’t live up to the Christmas cheer and can put a damper on your festive season. To keep safe during the frantic Christmas rush keep these tips in mind:
- Stay alert
With many possible distractions and large crowds you need to be that extra bit vigilant as you never know who might be watching.
- Don’t leave your valuables vulnerable
Avoid leaving your purse/wallet and gifts in plain sight in an unattended vehicle. Try to fit them into your boot or cover them as to not to pique the interest of an ill-wisher.
- Park in well-lit areas
Parking in well-lit busier places will deter others from approaching your vehicle as the risk of getting caught is higher.
- Don’t leave your purse/wallet unattended
Keep your purse/wallet, keys and cards close preferably in a zipped pocket.
- Shop online with caution
Online shopping can be a blessing at Christmas but only enter your payment information, such as card details or Paypal, on trusted sites. If something looks too good to be true, it usually is.
- Remember Hands, Face, Space
If you decide to hit the shops this festive season, please be mindful of social distancing and mask requirements, to keep yourself and those around you safe.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
We wish you a safe and merry holiday season!