Christmas is coming!

Posted 12/1/2021 3:14:21 PM

Anglia Fire Protection UK

Christmas is on it's way and we can't wait! Let us take some of the thinking out for you with our top tips on how to stay fire safe this festive season.

Christmas is a magical time of year. A time for seeing family and friends, eating fantastic food and really getting into that festive spirit, especially this year when Christmas for many in 2020 was spent in isolation without our nearest and dearest.

There are the lights, the food, the drink and everything else in between. But with all of these things, and not wanting to sound like The Grinch, there’s the increased risk of fire. A lot of what’s to follow is common sense but let us do the thinking for you. We’ve put together some top tips to think about this Christmas to help keep you safe whilst you celebrate this festive season in true style.


Christmas Trees

An integral part of the decorations, the Christmas tree often takes centre stage and why not!?! For many, it’s a work of art. But, no matter how festive, a Christmas tree is still a tree and therefore a source of fuel.

Real tree or fake, both are at risk of catching alight but there are steps you can take to reduce that risk and ensure your piste de resistance doesn’t go up in flames.

If you don’t have a real tree at Christmas, make sure to purchase an artificial tree that is fire-retardant. It won’t prevent a fire completely but it definitely takes longer for the flames to catch and spread.

Here are some top tips to help you out:

  1. Keep it fresh; the fresher the tree, the better. Trees that have been cut for longer tend to be drier which makes them more flammable. To test the freshness, a strong colour and fragrance is a good start. Secondary check? Tap it on the ground. If it’s fresh, it should only lose a few needles.
  2. Hydrate; this is great! A well-watered tree will maintain more moisture and take far longer to burn. Not only that, but watering your Christmas tree regularly will help maintain its fresh appearance and help it last longer. Trees will still absorb water, even when they’ve been cut!
  3. Lights out; most of us love the twinkling of lights on our tree but these lights generate heat. Those of you who know your fire triangle, heat, fuel and oxygen make fire. A Christmas tree with lights can be a recipe or disaster so make sure you switch the lights off when the tree is unsupervised and try not to leave the lights on for significant length of time. The forgetful type?? Why not get a Christmas light timer. It ensures the lights are switched off daily and may just help save a few pennies on the electric bill too.
  4. Give it space; be aware of what’s surrounding your tree. Are those items flammable too? If the tree goes up in flames, it won’t be long before the things near it are on fire too. Presents under the tree? Just be careful.

Christmas decorations  

We all love a Christmas decoration, whether it’s the retro foil garlands or the more traditional wreaths, we love to make our homes feel as festive as they can be. Have you ever really given it any thought what your decorations are made of? Probably not and unfortunately, a large proportion of them are made from flammable materials.

Be careful and thoughtful with where you put your decorations. Keep them a distance from anything which will generate heat such as lights, candles and heaters and try to keep them well spaced. The further they are apart and away from things, the harder it is for fire to spread.

Christmas lights

Christmas lights are one of the most popular decorations during the festive season. Who doesn’t love a twinkly light at this time of year? Domestic and commercial properties use them in equal measure to brighten up their premises but Christmas lights can pose a significant fire risk.

When using your lights this year, think about the following:

  1. Condition; we all know the sad feeling we get when it comes to taking the decorations down. It gets done in a hurry and lights may not be put away as carefully as we’d like. Coupled with being stored away for 11+ months of the year and being left on for hours at a time, they can become damaged and deteriorate in condition. Check the condition of your lights and if you see any signs of damage, consider replacing them. Battery powered? Check the connections where the batteries are held. If you’ve forgotten to take the batteries out when putting them away, they may have corroded and damaged the fitting.
  2. Age; how old are the lights you’re using? Lights that are decades old, used time and time again, spending most of the year completely and utterly tangled in a box somewhere are bound to get damaged and show signs of wear and tear. They may also be outdated and no longer safe to use so it’s worth considering upgrading them.
  3. Location; check where your lights can be used. Although outdoor lights can easily be used indoors, it’s not the same in reverse. Indoor lights are exactly that, for indoors. They are not weather proof and are definitely not designed to withstand the British winter! Are your lights near anything flammable, for example curtains, Christmas cards, paper decorations? This should be avoided.


Overloading sockets is dangerous at any time of year but at Christmas, there’s usually a lot more than needs to be plugged in. Do not be tempted to overload sockets unsafely. Here are some top tips on safely using sockets:

  • Only use one socket extension lead per socket
  • Never plug an extension lead into another extension lead
  • Check the wattage of each individual appliance
  • Use a multiway bar extension lead rather than a block adaptor
  • Check sockets regularly for changes/overheating/marks

Check your fire safety equipment

Avoiding disaster is all about making sure you’re prepared. At Christmas, businesses and residential properties do have a lot to deal with so being confident about your fire safety equipment is key.

Ensure your fire alarms and smoke detectors are tested regularly throughout the holiday season and always have a supply of batteries to make sure you’re not tempted to remove them from safety equipment to power toys or decorations.

Having working fire alarms and fire extinguishers on hand can be the difference between two very different outcomes this festive season and it’s always better to be prepared.


Most importantly, have fun this festive season and stay safe.


From all at Anglia Fire Protection, we wish you a very merry Christmas.

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