It's December which can only mean one thing; the Christmas decorations will be coming out the loft. Here are some simple tips to help you, your family and property to remain safe over the festive period.
When detangling the lights, check for any damage - broken or missing bulbs or even loose wiring. You should only replace bulbs of the same type (these are usually supplied in packets on the end of the cable near the plug). You should discard lights that have broken bulbs that cannot be replaced.
If your indoor lights get hot do not place them on or near flammable surfaces such as the sofa. It's surprising how many house fires can start from this easy mistake. It is recommended to purchase LED lights, not only are they brighter, longer lasting and don't get as hot but they don't use as much electricity as traditional filament bulbs.
Never use lights intended for indoor use outdoors. It is strongly recommended to plug outdoor lighting into an RCD protected socket. Durham Electrics can install dedicated waterproof outdoor sockets which are not only handy for Christmas but also during summer for your lawn mower.
Let’s not forget the other dangers with decorating the house. When putting your outdoor lights up remember ladder safety. Falls from height injuries and deaths are not just for those who work in construction. Visually check your ladders, are there any rungs missing, if you use wooden ladders are they painted (this could hide damage), are the ladder feet missing any rubber feet. Have you got someone to foot your ladder or a safe form to prevent the ladder from slipping (you can buy special ladder grippers for grass and pavements).
We unfortunately became a house fire statistic 5 years ago. Fortunately the damage was minimal (only one room lost and a whole house redecoration) but we didn’t spend Christmas in our own house it was spent in a hotel. If you would like to avoid the heartache of having to re-build your life please follow the following tips;
Always extinguish all candles before you go to bed or leave the house. – Make sure they are extinguished as well as sometimes they smoulder and the wick can continue burning.
Place candles on a stable, heat-resistant surface. You should make sure candles are located in places where children and animals cannot reach them or in places where they can be easily knocked over. Keep lit candles away from flammable surfaces including garlands displayed on your fireplaces. It’s easier to purchase real wax LED candles and some good quality Christmas fragranced air-freshener.
If you purchase a real tree check it for freshness. When you tap a real tree on the ground the tree should not shed many needles. The needles should also be hard to pull from branches and not break when bent between your fingers.
When you set it up make sure it is kept away from any sources of ignition. Heated rooms also dry out your tree so make sure you check the water levels daily to keep a nice fresh tree over the festive period.
Dispose of your fresh tree in accordance with the guidance set by the council.
Artificial trees are slightly easier to look after than fresh pines however, they still come with their own safety warnings. Small and sometimes sharp parts oh and let’s not forget the scratches you can sometimes get when ‘fluffing’ out the branches. Make sure your pop your tree up again away from sources of ignition.
Once you've checked your lights and decorations are safe, enjoy them but always remember to turn them off when you go out / go to bed.
Stay safe this festive period.