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Don’t let your Christmas go up in flames

According to the Red Cross, there are more than 50,000 house fires each year in the UK, causing an average of 350 deaths and 11,000 injuries – and most of these are preventable (1). Follow these safety tips this Christmas.

Candles are one of the most common causes of accidental fire. It may seem obvious but it’s important to keep Christmas cards and paper decorations far from lit candles. Also, never leave candles burning in an unoccupied room as all it takes is a sudden gust from a door opening and a few cards drop on to a flame ...

In these times of candle gift giving, we all need to remember candle (and incense) safety. And if candle lighting is a part of your family’s tradition – lit candles on Christmas trees were common until the arrival of LED lights – just remember that each candle is a little fire which can very quickly cause a blaze.

The UK Fire Service has some excellent advice on candle safety.

Fairy lights are also a fire risk at Christmas time. While you may be holding on to your family’s old fairy lights for sentimental or money-saving reasons, it is well worth consider buying new ones that meet today’s higher safety standards.

When buying new tree lights, RoSPA (The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) suggests you look for safety marks (such as BSI Kitemark), buy from a reputable store and look out for 24-volt lights or ones that are double insulated.

Remember, never leave lights on your tree while you’re out or in bed – a fault could lead to a fire.

Christmas trees can dry out in warm rooms and need careful attention. Keep your tree away from open fires, and keep smokers away from your tree as some ash could quickly cause a fire in a dried-out tree.

Smoke alarms – check yours have working batteries and remember: you are seven times more likely to die with no working smoke alarms in your home (2). Do not disable yours if it is triggered when you’re cooking Christmas dinner – the alarm warning means there are dangerous levels of smoke in your kitchen. Address the smoke, not the smoke alarm.

For more information, read this Christmas fire safety leaflet.


1. http://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/types-of-emergencies/fire

2. www.gov.uk/firekills