Don’t let the festivities fuel household fires

20th December 2013
Hiscox

Categories:

  • Executive insight
  • The festive season might be a joyous time of year but it is also one of the times when households are most at risk from certain types of fires and injuries.  Seasonal risks such as decorations which may burn easily, faulty tree lights, festive log fires and candles left burning can lead to accidents in and around the home, and there are often more fires during this time than at any other in the year. Here are a few simple tips to help keep homeowners safe this Christmas and retain the right level of home insurance cover:

    • Test Christmas tree lights thoroughly, use no more than three strands linked together and remember to turn off all lights at night and when you leave the house.
    • Invest in LED replacements for older style fairy lights.  Older light bulbs get hot, and if one bulb blows, the increased electricity to the remaining bulbs could be enough to start a fire, particularly if the tree they are placed on has dried out.
    • Make sure candles are firmly secured and keep them away from draughts and curtains, furniture or anything else that could catch fire.  Never move a candle while lit, and never leave a candle unattended.
    • Ensure all cables and flexes you use are in good condition.  Don’t be tempted to use, or fix up, old frayed cords with tape.
    • We all use extra appliances at Christmas – just ensure adapters and extension leads are not overloaded.
    • If you burn a real fire, make sure it is out completely before going to bed or leaving the house.  Any ashes should be taken out of the house and left to cool in a metal box.
    • Check the batteries in your smoke alarm and consider investing in a fire extinguisher in case a small fire breaks out.
    • Take care when throwing Christmas wrapping into the fireplace; the wrappings burn irregularly, and can send out dangerous sparks or chemicals which can cause explosions.
    • Home contents values can fluctuate over Christmas.  Make sure you’re covered by checking that valuable items or gifts over the ‘Single Article Limit’ are specified on your insurance policy. Some contents insurance policies have a Single Article Limit that assumes that no single item covered by the policy is worth more than the amount stated. If you have any items that exceed this amount, you will need to talk to your insurance company, or cover them under a specialist insurance policy – worth bearing in mind at this time of year in particular.

    Keep these tips front of mind and have a happy – and safe – festive season.

    Image credit Yoann Jezequel (external link)

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