While Christmas is cause for celebration, the festive season sadly sees an increase in house fires each year. Along with the warm December weather, seasonal traditions like backyard barbeques, Christmas trees, candles, cooking, and fairy lights all add an extra element of risk.
Don’t let the holidays end in tragedy. Follow these seven sensible fire prevention tips to safeguard your household from harm.
Check Your Smoke Alarms
Smoke alarms save countless lives in Australia each year. Review your device to ensure it is compliant with Australian Standards (AS/NZS3786:2014) and hasn’t surpassed its manufacturer-listed lifespan (typically ten years)
Use the test function to check the unit is working correctly and vacuum out the dirt in the insect screen.
Multiple fire alarms provide better protection than a single device. Opt for wireless smoke alarms which interconnect with one another and sound multiple sirens simultaneously.
Secure Your Fairy Lights
As tiny as they may be, low-quality fairy lights can short circuit and set fire to your home. Ensure all your lights comply with Australian Standards (look for the regulatory logo on the plastic tag near the transformer), as cheap overseas imports can be fatal.
Carefully examine your lights for worn-out bulbs and bare or frayed wires. Don’t overload your power boards or adapters, and check all outside lighting is suitable for external use. Turn off your lights every time you leave the house or go to bed.
Fireproof Your Christmas Tree
Flame-retardant materials are essential in artificial Christmas trees, as these are far less likely to combust.
If you prefer the real deal, grab a fresh tree and keep it well watered right up until the New Year. When the needles are green and firm, and the trunk feels sticky with resin, it’s in good health and won’t easily catch ablaze.
Keep your tree well away from potential fire hazards like heaters and candles, and secure it upright with a stable stand.
Check Your Barbeque
If you’re hosting a barbeque over the holidays, check your gas bottle is within its use-by date and examine the seals. Spray soapy water over the joints and turn on the gas to look for tiny bubbles, which indicate leaks.
Give the grill a good scrub to clean away excess grease and position the barbeque on level ground that is sheltered from the wind. Remember to turn it off at the cylinder and switch as soon as you’ve finished cooking for the day.
Cook With Caution
Cooking indoors can also pose a risk, especially when you factor in all the distractions the holiday season entails.
Don’t leave the kitchen unattended while you wander off for a chat, and be sensible about your alcohol consumption when preparing food. Keep flammable materials—i.e., paper towels, cardboard, and oil—well away from the stove.
It’s wise to have a fire extinguisher nearby. Review the unit to ensure it is in good working order.
Keep an Eye on Your Candles
Candle fires increase fourfold during the holiday season, so it is prudent to prioritise safety over aesthetics.
Never leave your candles unattended—always extinguish them before you go to bed. Position candles on a stable surface high enough to remain out of reach of children and pets. Do not place them near flammable materials like Christmas cards, curtains, or stockings.
Make a Bushfire Plan
Bushfires are a prevalent problem during Australian summers, as previous years have shown. Should you reside in a fire-prone area, prepare your bushfire plan now.
Organise a sit down meeting with your family to discuss when you’ll leave, what you’ll take, and where you’ll go. Indecision is the single biggest killer during the bushfire season.
Keep a close eye on the weather forecast and your state’s alert system. It’s worth having an emergency kit in the boot of your car should you need to evacuate in a hurry.
How PSA Products Can Help
PSA Products is one of Australia’s leading home security system suppliers.
We offer a wide range of wireless smoke detectors that exceed stringent Australian Standards to safeguard your family and home.
Don’t run the risk of a fatal fire event this summer. Invest in a high-quality smoke alarm from a brand you can trust.