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Published on December 12th, 2017 | by Martin Clancy

Christmas home safety tips

The festive season is a busy time of year, and with so much going on, it can be easy to be complacent and forgetful when it comes to fire and home safety. Zurich has some handy tips to protect your home this Christmas.

Sponsored post by Zurich.

Christmas is traditionally a busy time of the year for households. With decorations and lights adorning many homes, there can be additional fire hazards during the festive season and householders are advised to take extra care when decorating this Christmas.

Research commissioned by Zurich Insurance was carried out by Empathy Research in November 2016 and reveals that many of us are not taking the necessary precautions. According to the research findings, a third of Irish people overload electrical plug sockets and one in five leave their Christmas tree lights switched on overnight.

An infographic with a breakdown of statistics on Christmas home fire hazards

The nationwide research shows that a third of Irish people admit to overloading electrical sockets with multiple plugs to light up trees and homes, one in five leave their Christmas tree lights on or plugged in overnight, 55% hang Christmas cards over an open fire, and 10% even leave candles lit when leaving the house.

In addition, almost 30% are failing to place their Christmas tree a safe distance from a fire source, which is cause for concern as dryer trees have been shown to pose an increased fire risk.

Colm Blake, Marketing Manager at Zurich Insurance said that while most of us have a good understanding of the steps needed to keep a home safe at Christmas time, often people fail to take simple yet necessary safety measures. “Our research has shown that many people in Ireland are disregarding simple safety precautions. Easy steps such as placing your Christmas tree away from open fires or heaters, using plug sockets and extension cords responsibly, and remembering to blow out candles before leaving the house can help keep you safe this festive season. We would urge anyone preparing for Christmas to consider the home risks involved, so that you can have a happy and peaceful holiday.”

While simple measures can be taken to keep us safe in the home at Christmas, stocking the right equipment can be just as important in fire defence. The research revealed, however, that 22% of Irish people don’t have a battery powered smoke alarm in their household, while an even greater number (29%) fail to check their smoke alarms at least once per year. Nearly 50% of people don’t own a carbon monoxide detector, 57% don’t have a fire extinguisher, and only a third of people have a fire blanket in the house.

Festive fire safety advice

Zurich has come up with a handy list of tips and safeguards that every household should do this Christmas:

  • Don’t overload: Do not overload any electrical points, sockets or adapters. Do not consider doubling up on extension cords. It may be tempting to do so to gain more reach, but cords were not designed for this use. Stick to one and invest in longer cords if necessary.
  • Candles: It may sound obvious, but candles are often used as festive tree decorations which is a big risk. Equally, candles should not be positioned anywhere they are likely to catch fire, such as near curtains or hanging decorations.
  • Chimney: Your chimney should be cleaned once a year to help to reduce the chances of a chimney fire.
  • Fire resistance: If you have an artificial tree, be sure that it is flame retardant. If it is not, buy a new one that is.
  • Inspect: Carefully inspect Christmas light strings each year before putting them up. Discard any lights with frayed cords or loose connections. Ensure the correct wattage and voltage is used for replacement bulbs.
  • Quality over cost: Always choose quality Christmas lights. They come with accredited certification stating that the products comply with applicable standards for safety and performance.
  • Outdoor not indoor: Whether indoor or outdoor lights – use them for their correct purpose. When hanging outdoor lights, ensure that the lights are suitable for the outdoors and not used indoors. Outdoor lights are insulated specially for that purpose.
  • Unplug: When electrical appliances are not in use, unplug them.
  • Switch off: It’s important to remember to switch off Christmas lights when going to bed, leaving the house or when unattended for long periods of time.

Zurich Insurance offers excellent cover, a fast and convenient service and help when you need it most. Get a quote online or call us in Wexford on 1890 400 300 or 053 915 7775. Read more about our home safety tips and all the preventative measures you can take to reduce the risk of damage or loss to your home or personal items.

Source: Research commissioned by Zurich Insurance, based on an online survey of nationally representative sample of 1,000 adults carried out by Empathy Research in November 2016.

Zurich Insurance plc is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.


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