The festive season is perfect for spending quality time with your loved ones, but it is also a period rife with fire safety hazards. New electronics, masses of guests, and serious oven usage can all contribute to a fire, but one of the biggest causes of holiday breakouts comes from a yuletide staple; the Christmas tree. As the centrepiece of the festive decorations, millions of families across the country will gather around, open presents and, generally, congregate around their tree. Read on for our blog on Christmas tree fires for tips to ensure you and your loved ones stay fire safe this Christmas.
Preventing an Incident
If you are buying a real tree, as opposed to an artificial one, you need to be extra careful. This is because if the tree has been out of the ground for too long, it becomes immensely more susceptible to ignition. The colour is a good indication of its condition, so check the needles to see if they are green as they should be. Also, pull the branches back to see if they break, as this will be quite difficult if it is healthy. A good way to test your tree is by bouncing the tree, trunk first, from a short distance. If any of the needles fall off, this is a sign the tree has dried up, thus becoming a bigger fire hazard.
Where you position your tree is also vital in terms of safety, as you need to be aware of anything in the vicinity that could prompt a blaze. Unsurprisingly, heat sources are the biggest concern here, so try to position it as far away from any fireplaces or heat vents as possible. If you have guests who are smokers, ensure they take their cigarettes outside, as stray embers could cause the tree to alight. It should always be stood in water too, to minimise the fire risk.
One of the biggest risks doesn’t concern the tree itself, but rather the adornments you cover it with. Let’s start with fairy lights, which may sound innocuous, but can be quite destructive if you aren’t affording them the standard of care they need. First, ensure that that the fuses match by checking the packaging for the recommended maximum size. You shouldn’t leave them on unattended either or plug them into an extension that already has a lot of devices, as this could overload the socket. The bulbs can be an issue too, as they shouldn’t be touching anything flammable, so be wary of any handmade decorations. Candlelight might be the traditional way to make your centrepiece a little brighter, but it’s not the best idea, as this could very easily cause a fire. It might be best to move on with the times and switch to something LED-based.
The risks don’t go away once Christmas is over though, you must dispose of the tree properly. If the tree becomes very dry, dispose of it as soon as possible. The safest way to do this is by taking it to your local tip if they are accepting them, or look for a community service that is picking trees up.
Extinguishing Christmas Tree Fires
If something does go awry and you do end up with a fire, it is best to know how to handle it.
Before you attempt to tackle the fire, you need to evaluate its size and what type it is. If it is an electrical fire and quite large, the best thing to is evacuate immediately. Because of this, it’s a good idea to have an escape route to hand, nothing too elaborate, just a simple plan that the household knows about. Identifying exits, doing a headcount and ensuring all the pathways are clear is all good preparation for this. If it is a small, non-electrical fire, then you can douse or smother it with water, but anything else needs a proper extinguisher.
Alerting the emergency services should always be the first thing you do in the event of a fire, but you should also have ways to combat one safely, if the worst should happen. For this task, you need a fast-acting, extinguishing solution, and Firescape has just the thing. Spray-Safe is the smallest aerosol extinguisher available on the market, containing just 200ml of liquid per bottle. The formula itself has been specially designed to be eco-friendly, so there is no toxic residue leftover or overflowing mess to tidy up. As it’s just a bottle, there are no mechanical parts to worry about, so it’s very easy to use. If you’re interested in trying the hottest product in fire safety, have a look at our homepage for additional information, or check out our YouTube page for video demonstrations and more.
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