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highly flammable

From not watering trees to overloading sockets - Ireland's top fire hazards at Christmas

Three people over the age of 60 died as a result of house fires over the Christmas period in Northern Ireland last year.

OVERLOADING ELECTRICAL SOCKETS, leaving Christmas trees plugged in overnight and even leaving candles lit when leaving the house.

These are just some of the safety hazards happening in Irish homes across the Christmas period according to a national study by Zurich.

One in five (22%) people who took part in the study said they leave their Christmas tree lights on or plugged in overnight, over half (55%) said they hang Christmas cards over an open fire, and one in ten (10%) leave candles lit when leaving the house.

Dublin Fire Brigade has launched its 12 days of Christmas safety campaign this week and is urging people to follow their tips to stay safe.

As Christmas trees are more flammable when they dry out, DFB says keeping your tree well watered is the best way to fireproof it. “Keep the water in the stand well above the fresh cut base.”

The study found that only 14% of people place their Christmas tree in a water source to keep it from drying out.

The Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service are also sending out warnings on social media after three people over the age of 60 died as a result of house fires over the Christmas period last year.

Dublin Fire Brigade also have plenty of advice when it comes to Christmas light.

Crews are warning people to check that wiring is not worn or frayed, to use weatherproof sockets for outdoor lights and to choose LED lights when buying new ones.

Safety tips 

Before taking time to relax and admire all the Christmas decorations, people are being urged to make sure they take these precautions to ensure a safe home over the holidays.

  • Avoid hanging items that can catch fire above or close to an open fire or stove
  • Avoid leaving Christmas lights and other appliances switched on when everyone is leaving the house or going to bed
  • For outdoor lights, make sure all electrical sockets and plugs are kept dry, and the lights are LED type. Make sure also that the lights are for outdoor use
  • Do not leave candles lit while everyone is out. Open flames should also be kept a safe distance from flammable fabrics at all times
  • Carefully place your Christmas tree a safe distance from any fire source or heater
  • Place a real tree in water to keep it from drying out. The dryer the Christmas tree, the easier it will catch fire
  • The best line of defence if a fire does occur is early detection. Ensure all battery powered smoke alarms have charged batteries installed. Test all detectors before the Christmas period

Read: ’A pint a day’: How to make sure your real tree stays fresh until Christmas this year>

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