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Be aware of possible fire risks in the home this Christmas

13 December 2013

Humberside Fire and Rescue Service is asking people to take extra care when decorating their homes for Christmas. For many people, December is the time to put up a Christmas tree and fill their home with decorations and candles

Daryl Oprey, Head of Safety at Humberside Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Although we would never ask people to not put up Christmas decorations, it’s important to be aware of the possible dangers we bring into our homes to try to reduce risk of a fire starting.”

“Christmas trees are often the focal point of festive decorations. Once a real tree has been brought into home, warmth can dry it out very quickly, which can make it particularly susceptible to fire,” Daryl Oprey said.

Although it is rare for a Christmas tree to catch fire, keeping it watered will help keep the tree moist and reduce any risk of it catching fire along with keeping the tree looking its best for longer.

Daryl continued: “When decorating your tree make sure tree lights carry the British Safety Standard sign, that sockets aren’t overloaded and that you turn off fairy lights at the mains before leaving the house or going to bed.

“When decorating the rest of your home think carefully about where you put your decorations. Don’t attach them to any electrical fittings and keep them away from any heat sources,” Daryl said.

When using candles, firefighters are urging people to make sure that they are never left unattended. Candles should always be in a suitable holder, away from fabrics such as curtains, and kept out of the reach of children and pets.

Mr Oprey said: “Faulty tree lights, overloaded plug sockets and candles left unattended can all pose fire risks. We want everyone to enjoy Christmas, but would urge people to keep safety in mind too.”

The National Institute for Standards and Technology has produced a video showing the difference between a watered Christmas tree and a dry Christmas tree if they catch light. This video can be viewed here: