Don`t risk having a Christmas catastrophe!

Date Published 03 December 2021

Don't risk having a Christmas catastrophe!

We need to have a quick talk about Christmas.

I know, I know ... the word ‘catastrophe' sounds a bit over the top, but it's a sad fact that people do have them at this time of year, just when things should be relaxed and happy.
So, what shall we talk about?
Well, we could reel off a huge list of possible disasters, but that would just be silly; we can't prepare for every single event that may or may not happen, but we can look at three things that our experts see popping up year after year.

First … Christmas lights
Do you want to put Christmas lights up outside this year? Or a beautifully lit Christmas tree? Maybe a huge inflatable Santa?
Outside lights look lovely, but where are they going to plug in? Will the cables be safe outdoors?
Have you asked the landlord?
Make sure you've considered the following:
• Before you do anything, check with the landlord (or agent), just to be sure
• Ensure there's a properly installed exterior power-point
• Don't trap cables in windows or doors to bring plugs inside the peoperty
• Check any trailing cables aren't a trip hazard

If outdoor lights aren't your thing, then what about indoor lights? Who can resists a colourful tree and flashing lights around the windows, especially in the children's rooms?
If you have the newer LED type of Christmas lights, then these tend to stay cool, but the older type can get very hot.
Have a think about the following:
• Older lights may need ditching if they get hot or the wiring is looking past its best
• Don't overload plug sockets with plug-bars and adaptors
• Don't have wires trailing along the floor
• Make sure they're all switched off when you go to bed

Second up ... candles and tea-lights
Candles are lovely at this time of year. You may just like the glow or the aroma, or maybe you light one to remember a loved one. Perhaps you've received an amazing pillar candle as a gift, or some wonderfully scented tea-lights, but this time of year is when we hear of tragic fires as a result of a poorly placed candle or tea-light. It just isn't worth the risk, so here's our advice:
• Always place on a heat resistant surface, like a coaster, even if already in a votive or similar holder
• Never leave a candle or tea-light lit when leaving the room for more than a couple of minutes. Always extinguish first.
• Always leave plenty of room above the flame … remember that heat rises and anything above will get hotter and hotter.
• If there are youngsters in the house, place your candle or tea-light well out of reach. Children find the sight of a flame mesmerising.

Finally … security
It's at this time of year that you've probably got a lot of extra stuff in your house in the form of all those gorgeous presents you've bought for friends and family, or there's a pile of gifts slowly mounting up that have bought for you. It would be a tragedy if they were all stolen, and you may think it's never going to happen, but it does and it's usually because of small oversights and being just too busy with Christmas jobs to ensure everything is safe.
• Check that all doors and windows close and lock securely. Tell the landlord if anything isn't right.
• It may sound obvious, but don't leave anything on display. Anywhere!
• Consider not putting presents under the tree until Christmas Eve. If you have an intruder it's the first place they'll head for.
• Close curtains as soon as it's dusk.
• If you're making larger purchases (computer gaming, jewellery etc), or may receive these items, consider taking a look at Christmas present insurance.
• Spread gifts around the property rather than keeping all in one place.
• If you're working over Christmas, then leave a couple of room lights on whilst you're out. It's ‘rich-pickings' time for burglars and an empty looking property can be an easy target.

We can't cover every eventuality, but between us we can all do little things to make sure our homes, our properties and our belongings stay safe and secure.
Christmas should be wonderful for everyone, but things like a fire or theft can really ruin the whole of the festive season and cause huge upset and pain. So don't overlook the little things, be wise, follow our tips, and have a very Happy Christmas!