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Fire safety: a quick holiday guide

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Knauf
18.12.2019

Fire safety: a quick holiday guide

Are you ready for safe winter celebrations? The holiday season is upon us with festive decorations, candles, sparklers and other joyful elements that bring about the holiday spirit. In the midst of making plans for the next year and spending quality time with your loved ones, it is important to remember about fire safety during this busy time. In this article you will find several tips and tricks for a safe holiday season. 



1. Christmas tree – a hazard in disguise

The Christmas tree, in its classic form, is prone to fire as is. It is a good idea to keep from adding to the fire hazard. Keep your tree well-watered and clean from flammable sprays. Because the holiday season is the time for lighting candles, sparklers and other festive sources of fire, it is best to keep the tree free from any flammable decorative snow, sprayable glitter, hair spray etc. Avoid using candles in the Christmas tree, especially if it has been previously sprayed with combustible sprays. In case it is unavoidable, be mindful of the dangers and prepare a plan in case things go awry. Make sure that your tree is at least 1m from sources of heat such as fireplaces, radiators, space heaters, candles, or heat vents. The Christmas tree can catch on fire very quickly. Watch this video to see how fast the fire spreads across the room:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xr6b9b8FYKk

2. Fire-safe Christmas lights

To be safe, before using Christmas lights, make sure they are functioning properly. Avoid using lights that have been stored in extreme conditions, e.g. damp spaces. Say no to old Christmas lights even if they have sentimental value. Old lights are prone to electrical malfunctions, sending up a spark which could spread across the room. Any lights should be used according to their manual. Does the light bulb heat up? Don’t use it near flammable materials. Instead, use LED lights which use light-emitting diodes, rather than filament to produce light, therefor they don’t heat up.
Be sure to turn them off when you are absent from the room for longer periods of time. Turn the lights off when going to bed. 



3. Keeping an eye out for faulty or unattended appliances

Fires associated with overloaded electrical sockets, damaged or faulty appliances and fittings are common causes of home fire. Do not overload sockets – plugging too many electrical appliances into one socket can lead to overheating. Many people rely on adapters this Christmas to plug in their devices, which poses a serious risk if they're overloaded. Try to avoid using extension leads as they can increase the risk of an electrical problem.
Be mindful of the kitchen appliances you are using. Don’t leave them unattended when preparing a traditional Christmas dinner.



4. Safeguarding the home from naked fire

Winter holidays is the time to light candles in beautiful candle holders, lamps and even the Christmas tree itself. A popular holiday attribute is sparklers, which throw off showers of hot sparks, and their temperatures can exceed 650° C. Be sure to light them outside the home and be mindful of handing them to children, as they can cause burns. It is crucial to always have an eye on any naked flames around the house. Keep candles at least 30 cm away from anything that burns. Never leave candles unattended! Make sure no pets or young children can knock down or otherwise move the candles. Never leave candles near drafty windowsills, doors, etc. A draft can easily spread the fire around the area. It is best to keep all candles in partially-covered  or completely covered candelabras. That way the flame is still visible, but better contained.



5. Preparation is the key to success

As for any matter of safety, it is always better to be well prepared in advance. To ensure fire safety, one can use passive fire safety materials to safeguard the building so that it would withstand a fire in the worst case scenario. Active fire protection tools should be easily accessible in case something does go wrong, i.e. buckets filled with water, water extinguisher, fire blanket, sprinklers etc.
This holiday time we urge you to pay attention to the safety risks associated with holiday festivities.

Bonus tips:

• Test your smoke alarms monthly and only remove batteries when they are replaced.
• Make sure that in an emergency, your family and visitors know how to escape.
• Store fireworks according to manufacturer’s manual. Never return to a lit firework and keep nearby a bucket of water.
• Avoid cooking when under the influence of alcohol.

We wish You a wonderful and safe holiday time!


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