Have fun this festive season but be jolly careful not to start a fire

London Fire Brigade (LFB) wants everyone to enjoy the festive season, but as people continue to work from home and are spending more time indoors than ever, firefighters have issued a few seasonal safety tips to mark Electrical Fire Safety Week.

Providing you’re following Government guidance, we are looking forward to seeing people celebrating early. After all, anything goes in 2020. But remember that Christmas decorations can burn very easily, so make sure you don’t attach them to lights or hang them too close to heaters or open fires.

If you’re digging out your decorations from the loft, check the Christmas lights are not worn or damaged and check plugs, bulbs and wires. Replace them if you see any signs of wear and check that they carry the British Safety Standard logo. You should always switch Christmas lights off and unplug them before you go to bed.

LFB issued advice about working from home at the start of the pandemic, but as that situation continues into the holiday season, firefighters are again reminding everyone to keep an eye on their electricals and make sure they are safe. If you’ve still got a temporary office set up, don’t overload your plug sockets by trying to light up your working environment with Christmas cheer from the same power source.

Common electrical hazards include overloading plug sockets, using counterfeit or incorrect chargers for tablets, laptops and mobile phones and “daisy-chaining” – plugging multiple extension leads together or plugging many multi-socket adaptors into a single socket. If you have to use an adaptor, use a fused “in-line” type and not a block adaptor. Block adapters put more strain on the socket and sometimes don’t have a fuse which can cause a fire. You can use Electrical Safety First’s online socket overload calculator to make sure you’re not overloading the sockets in your home.

The Brigade’s Assistant Commissioner for Fire Safety, Paul Jennings, said, “We’re not trying to be the Christmas Grinch, but 2020 has been a hard enough year for everyone and the last thing we want is for anyone’s early celebrations to go up in smoke. We are encouraging everyone to be jolly careful this festive season. We understand people are getting their Christmas decorations out early this year, and why not? All we ask is that people follow our simple advice to keep safe. Fire is devastating at anytime of year, but this is heightened at Christmas, with wrapped presents destroyed and families displaced – and particularly after the year we have all had the last thing we want is for people to suffer the distressing consequences of a fire at their home.”

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