Make yours a safer Christmas

Make yours a safer Christmas

Christmas time is always a highlight of the year bringing families and friends together to enjoy the extended holiday. The downside is that the number of accidents in and around the home hits a high point at this time of year. It is estimated over 1000 visits to A & E will be made solely due to accidents involving Christmas trees. To ensure your celebrations are not spoiled give some thought to these basic safety issues:

• Don’t hang decorations and cards around the fireplace and light fittings. It may look festive but the fire risk is a real danger.

• Don’t leave burning candles in an unattended room and make sure you put them out before going to bed. Under no circumstances should you put candles on Christmas trees either real or reproduction.

• Check your Christmas lights are in good order. Newer lights are made to higher safety standards to prevent excessive heat from the bulbs. Finish decorating the tree before you switch them on to avoid the risk of electrocution. Remember to switch off the lights when going out of the house or going to bed.

• Avoid trailing cables and wires that can create a trip hazard and avoid cluttering staircases and doorways with presents or packaging.

• Don’t overload electrical sockets or multi-plug block connectors in the excitement of connecting new gadgets and appliances.

• Christmas dinner is without doubt the event of the day but with hot ovens, gas hobs, hot fat and boiling water all present the potential for accidents are high. Keep excited children out of the kitchen. Wipe up any spills quickly and have a fire blanket and basic first aid kit close to hand as a precaution.

• If you are a traditionalist like me take my tip and light the Christmas pudding at the table rather than carrying a flaming pudding from the kitchen. It works best if you heat the brandy first, pour over and light immediately with a long taper.

• If you have an open fire make sure it has a spark guard and that you have a constant source of ventilation to prevent the build-up of dangerous fumes like carbon monoxide.

• With all these sources of heat around if you have smoke or carbon monoxide detector give the test button a press to make sure they are working and if not replace the batteries. If you don’t have a smoke detector put one on your Christmas present list! Remember to buy batteries for toys that need them – that way you won’t have disappointed children or be tempted to “borrow” batteries from smoke alarms.

• If you plan to visit relatives over Christmas keep an eye on the weather forecast and go prepared. A winter survival kit for motorists should include a snow shovel and deicer, emergency escape hammer and of course a mobile phone. If it’s a long journey warm blankets, emergency rations and drinks (non-alcoholic of course) will sustain you until help arrives.

Have a happy Christmas.

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