Now that Halloween and Bonfire night are behind us, the festive season is about to hit us and it won’t be long till homes across the UK are twinkling with fairy lights and Christmas cheer! But are you taking dangerous risks with your safety during the holidays? We’ve highlighted some common activities that may be putting you and your family in danger, with some simple tips to help you stay safe (Source: www.hwfire.org.uk)
Prepare to Party!
Over 650,000 house fires have been started by electrical beauty products like hair straighteners being left switched on. Follow our advice – switch them off and put them away!
Deck the Halls
Christmas lights brighten up homes across the UK but can be an electrical safety risk.
After 12 months packed away in the loft, Christmas lights can easily become electrically unsafe.
To help prevent the most common electrical problems with Christmas lights, and to enjoy a safe and happy festive season, we recommend the following simple precautions and checks.
- read and follow the manufacturers’ instructions
- check your Christmas lights are not damaged or broken before use and look out for loose wires
- use only replacement bulbs of the same type and rating as those originally supplied with the lights
- ensure all outdoor lights are connected via a 30mA RCD protected socket
- replace failed lamps immediately to prevent overheating
- ensure plugs and transformers are plugged in indoors, even if the lighting is suitable for outdoor use
- switch your lights off and unplug them before you go to bed or go out
- keep lights away from flammable decorations and materials that can burn easily
- use lights outdoors unless they are specially designed for such use
- connect different lighting sets together
- connect lights to the supply whilst still in the packaging
- remove or insert lamps while the chain is connected to the supply
- overload sockets – try to avoid the use of extension leads or adaptors
- attempt to repair faulty lights – replace them
- use lights that are damaged or faulty
Most people have extension leads in their homes, using 4-way bar adaptors to increase the number of appliances that they can plug into a wall socket.
However, although there is space to plug in four appliances, this does not mean it is always safe to do so.
You can avoid overloading sockets and risk of fire by following this simple advice:
- Check the current rating of the extension lead before plugging appliances into it. Most are rated at 13 A, but some are rated at only 10 A or less – the rating should be clearly marked on the back or underside of the extension lead. If not, refer to the manufacturer’s instructions
- Never overload an extension lead by plugging in appliances that together will exceed the maximum current rating stated for the extension lead. This could cause the plug in the wall socket to overheat and possibly cause a fire.
- Use this overload calculator to check if you’re exceeding the maximum load
- Only use one socket extension lead per socket and never plug an extension lead into another extension lead
- Use a multi-way bar extension lead rather than a block adaptor, as this will put less strain on the wall socket. Some block adaptors do not have a fuse, which increases the risk of overloading and fire.
Driving Home for Christmas
Packing up and preparing a Christmas playlist for the car or train? Make sure you don’t leave your laptop or mobile device charging on the bed while you get ready to leave. Always use a hard surface and don’t overcharge your devices. And avoid charging your phone overnight or using cheap, unbranded chargers. Overcharging can cause some adaptors to become a fire risk.
Cook up a festive feast!
Nearly half of us have admitted to leaving cooking unattended – and with a house full of family and friends celebrating Christmas it’s easy to get distracted. So, watch what you heat and don’t cook when you’ve had a few glasses of festive cheer!
New Year’s Resolutions
If you’re planning to give up smoking, e-cigarettes can help you along the way. But make sure you use the correct charger. If you use a cheap, unbranded one it may be a resolution you regret.