How to Prevent a Fire Over Christmas

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Christmas is nearly here! Last week we discussed how to prevent a home insurance claim if you are planning on leaving your home vacant this Christmas. However, for many this year we’ll be hunkering down in the comfort of our own homes. Christmas however, while full to the brim of fun and festivities can also be a dangerous time for fire related incidents. Fires in homes can cause a significant amount of damage in a very short amount of time. This year, we want to ensure that you don’t have to make a call to your home insurance company.

Before we provide you with all the tips you need to keep your home fire-safe this Christmas, we want to run through the facts. December is the peak time of the year for home candle fires. For example, in the United States Christmas tree fires see 1 fatality in every 31 reported fires. Finally, Christmas time is one of the busiest times of the year for Irish fire brigades. Christmas poses a real threat to your home and to your wallet, if you don’t take preventative measures.

So, what can you do to minimise the risk?

  1. Consider your tree.

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If you are determined to opt for a real tree this Christmas, then it’s incredibly important that you are thorough in your search. The Christmas trees on sale can be a mixed bag. Unfortunately, sometimes the trees on offer can be slightly dried out depending on how long they have been on display. Fresher trees are far less likely to catch fire than older tress. That’s not to understate the fact that you are taking a bigger risk with a fresh tree in the first place.

However, it’s vital that you scope out various providers and try to find a tree that hasn’t become brittle over time. Brownish needles on a tree is the first sign that a tree is aging. This makes the tree more flammable overall. If the needles on the tree are a vibrant green and don’t flake or fall easily from the tree, then this tree is likely to pose less of a risk.

Fir needles from a fresh tree should crisply snap when tested, so this is an ongoing check you can do on your tree over Christmas to maintain damage control.

  1. Keep your tree watered.

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Once we put our tree up and decorate it, we tend not to think about it again until it’s time to take it down. However, over the two weeks of Christmas, your tree is slowly drying out. Constant moisture is the key to success with a tree.  A parched tree is scientifically proven to burn quicker than a newspaper, so ensure that you lay out a watering schedule to check that your tree stand is always full.

A medium to large tree will drink anything up to a gallon of water in a day. The tree will draw water for up to 4 weeks, so that should see you through the festive period.

  1. Check your lights.

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After lugging all your Christmas decorations down from the attic you’ll be anxious to get them up and to start enjoying them. However, you need to take the time to visually inspect your lights. Look over the wire and make sure there’s no frayed edges. Ensure that your lights are suitable for indoor use as some lights are meant for external purposes only.

If your lights pass a visual inspection, lay them on the ground and plug them in. This will allow you to identify if any of the lights are faulty or broken.

Once you are sure your lights are functioning properly then you can place them on your tree.

If you’re in the market for a new set of lights this year, buy a high-quality brand. You might have to pay a little bit extra, but it will be worth it for peace of mind and longevity.

  1. Turn off your tree’s lights.

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Experts have emphasised that you need to turn off your lights whenever you won’t be there to keep an eye on them. If you’re going to bed, make sure your lights are not only turned off but also plugged out. If you are going to be nipping to the shop, ensure your lights are off. Not matter the length of time you’re going to be out of the house, its crucial all the lights are plugged out.

5.Get rid of your tree after the holidays!

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Avoid the common habit of leaving your tree up after the festive period ends. Every day that passes causes your tree to become drier and more flammable. Once early January rolls in then it’s time to remove your decorations and dispose of your tree. This will reduce the risk of having to call your home insurance company in January.

Bonus tip:

Consider an artificial tree.

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We hate to be scrooges, but it’s important to make people aware of their options this Christmas. Artificial trees are the safer option across the board. While artificial trees can indeed catch fire if they aren’t safely supervised, they are far less likely to take light.

At insuremyhouse.ie, we provide fantastic home insurance cover to ensure that you and your family have peace of mind at home. Your premium shouldn’t break the bank but you should also never have to worry about risks. Contact our brokers today and we’ll help you pick a policy!