Posted December 11th, 2023 by SimpliSafe
It may be the most wonderful time of the year, but in addition to all of the joy and indulgence that the festive season brings, Christmas can also increase people’s stress levels and the amount of safety hazards in the home, creating a recipe for potential disaster.
But don’t fret! By following our safety tips at Christmas, you can take steps to reduce the risk of accidents in your home and enjoy a peaceful December. To help you remember these festive safety tips, here are our top 12 pieces of advice for you to follow on each of the 12 days of Christmas. Keep on reading to take control of your home security and safety.
Before putting up your Christmas lights this December, make sure you check that they’re all in good condition. If you see any evidence of fraying wires, loose connections or other signs of damage, do not plug in those lights. Instead, it’s best to purchase some new Christmas lights that meet British Standards (BS).
If you have to purchase new lights, it’s also important to check that your outdoor lights are rated for outdoor use. You can check this by looking at the product’s IP rating – a product should have a rating of at least IP44 for general outdoor use.
Christmas is the perfect time to get cosy in front of the fireplace. However, don’t let this festive atmosphere lull you into a false sense of security. When sitting in front of a fireplace, you should leave a gap of at least three metres – this is especially important for children, who shouldn’t be left unattended when a fire is burning. Plus, you should ensure that any furniture, decorations or Christmas gifts are at least three metres away from the fireplace. This will help reduce the risk of house fires.
Before lighting a fire, always check the condition of your fireplace and chimney. These areas should be cleaned and inspected once a year by a professional, as too much soot build-up in your chimney can potentially cause fires. Since many people only light their fireplaces in the winter, this is the perfect time to get them cleaned. You could also schedule your annual smoke detector maintenance for the same time to keep things easier to remember.
Just as you shouldn’t leave your fireplace unattended when lit, you should never leave burning candles when you go to bed or leave your home. Although these flames are small and easy to forget about, unattended candles are a serious and common hazard that lead to many house fires each year.
In addition, you should keep all candles far away from your Christmas decorations, including your tree. Fires can easily spread if a flammable material is left too close to an unattended burning candle.
Don’t forget about your Christmas lights, too! When you go to bed or leave home, you should get into the habit of turning off all your Christmas lights, decorations and any portable heaters you’ve plugged in for the winter. While Christmas decorations can spread a lot of festive cheer, they can also be a fire hazard if not used responsibly.
Decorating your Christmas tree is guaranteed to reignite your holiday spirit as the 25th approaches. However, when picking out your best baubles, tinsel and fairy lights, you should also pay attention to the underlying stability of the whole tree. Your Christmas tree can be very heavy – especially if you have a natural tree or a heavily decorated one – so it could cause a serious injury if it falls on a person or a pet.
Before setting up your Christmas tree, make sure it’s undamaged and has a stable base to stand on. If you have playful pets, it may also be a good idea not to place baubles on the lowest branches, as your cat or dog may play with them and accidentally pull on the tree.
In addition to potentially causing injuries by falling over, your Christmas tree could also be a fire hazard. When shopping for Christmas trees, only choose artificial trees that are labelled as flame-resistant. If you choose a natural tree, make sure you keep it hydrated, as dry branches can make the tree more likely to catch fire. Plus, when placing and decorating your tree, keep it away from heaters, radiators and open flames, and only use fairy lights that are undamaged.
You may find yourself enjoying a tipple more than usual during the festive season, so it’s important to reiterate the dangers of drinking and driving. Drink driving causes hundreds of deaths each year in the UK. Don’t become a statistic – always have a sober designated driver when drinking away from home, or stay sober yourself if you can’t walk home, get a taxi or stay with a friend.
No matter how good you are at cooking, it’s important to stay focused and not leave food unattended while it’s being cooked, as this is a major cause of house fires. Even if you’re just roasting or baking food in the oven, keep an eye on it and always set a timer for regular checks.
You know Christmas is just around the corner when you see twinkling fairy lights wrapped around all the houses and gardens in your street. When putting up your own outdoor Christmas lights, practise stepladder safety to reduce the risk of injury and falls. We would recommend that you don’t put up your Christmas lights on your own. Instead, there should be someone there with you to stabilise the ladder and help you if something goes wrong. You should also wear sensible shoes, avoid overreaching, and step up and down slowly and carefully.
Thanks to all of your Christmas lights and decorations, you’ll probably need to use a lot more plug sockets than usual throughout December. Even if you’re struggling to find enough sockets, never overload an electrical outlet with too many devices. When using an extension lead, you shouldn’t exceed the maximum current rating stated by the manufacturer.
Finally, if you’re going on holiday for the Christmas period, make sure you don’t post about your travels online until you’re back home. You may be keen to get your festive snap on Instagram as soon as possible, but these kinds of social media posts can actually help burglars target your home when you’re clearly away.
According to research by insurance company Admiral, homes are 50% more likely to be burgled in November and December, with the 10 most popular days for burglaries all falling within these months. Avoid becoming a victim of crime this Christmas by being careful about what you post online and being vigilant when it comes to home security.
In addition to preventing injuries and accidents this festive season, you also want to keep your home and belongings secure. Here’s our list of dos and don’ts for Christmas safety and security:
DO follow SimpliSafe’s 12 Christmas safety tips listed above.
DO keep windows and doors locked.
DO keep expensive gifts hidden from view.
DON’T post about expensive gifts or going on holiday on social media.
DON’T dispose of the packaging for expensive gifts in an obvious place – take it to a recycling centre, shred the paper, or hide it in other packaging so that burglars can’t look through your bins and discover what you have inside.
Check out the SimpliSafe blog for more safety tips. Plus, you can create your own bespoke security system using our ‘Build My System’ tool, which will be ready to install before the Christmas period begins.