CommercialDecember 17, 2023

Beware these festive fire hazards

Fairy lights, beautifully decorated trees, turkey, presents (if you’re very lucky). These are just a few of the things that might come to mind when you think of Christmas.

But to ensure your festivities aren’t interrupted by any nasty surprises, it’s important to be aware of the dos and don’t of fire safety. After all, more house fires happen in December than any other month..

At The Insurance Centre, we want to help you be aware of the following festive fire hazards, and help you light up smiles – not fires! – this Christmas.

Christmas trees

Did you know that Christmas trees are one of the biggest causes of house fires in the Christmas period?[

While real Christmas trees are much more likely to be involved in a fire incident, that doesn’t mean that artificial trees are completely safe.

Both types of tree should be kept away from any heat sources, meaning that if you want to light some candles, make sure to do it far away from your tree.

Christmas lights

Did you know that three million households leave their Christmas tree lights on overnight and when they leave the house?

You probably wouldn’t leave any other electrical appliance on unattended, which is why we don’t recommend you make an exception for your Christmas tree lights.

What’s more, many people use lights that have been stored away in the garage or loft all year round, so they could be worn or damaged by Christmas time, in turn increasing the chances of a fire.

To use Christmas lights safely, make sure they conform to British Standard specifications (you can check the original manual for this information, or check the code on your lights).

If you’re putting lights outside, make sure they’re designed for outdoor use. Likewise, if you’re going to use an extension cable, make sure it’s suitable for outdoor use and has enough current capacity to support your lights.

Overloaded plug sockets

At Christmas time, we tend to have more things plugged in than we usually do, whether it’s fairy lights, flashing ornaments, a portable heater, or something else. If you’re using an extension cord, remember that just because there are sockets available, it doesn’t mean they can all be used. If you exceed the maximum current rating the cord can support, it will overheat, and could catch on fire.

To avoid this happening, check the extension cord manual for its maximum load to ensure all your plug-ins are suitable.

Unattended cooking appliances

Whoever’s responsible for the Christmas dinner knows how much of a plate-spinning affair it can be. With many dishes being cooked at once, there will likely be many different appliances on the go, too. Throw in a few merry drinks, and you have a potentially dangerous situation on your hands.

That’s why it’s really important you don’t leave any cooking appliances on unattended. Anything could happen while you’re not there, whether caused by a faulty wire, an electrical spark, or even forgetfulness.

Portable heaters

It’s the most freezing time of the year…

Those aren’t the lyrics to the famous Christmas song, but they are accurate!

During the brisk festive season, many of us will get out our portable heaters to make things more comfortable. Because we don’t tend to use portable heaters all year round until winter, it’s important you check that yours is in good working order before using it.

You’ll also want to give your portable heater a home away from any Christmas decorations and soft furnishings, as to do so would be a fire hazard.

Electric blankets

Another item most people don’t use until winter is their electric blankets. When you get yours out, again make sure it’s still safe to use, with the recommendation being to carefully check blankets over three years old.

If you got your electric blanket out after having folded it and put it away, you’ll want to check for signs of wear before using it. This is because electric blankets contain delicate internal wires that can be damaged if not handled correctly, so manufacturers typically recommend hanging it up when not in use.

If you need help with anything in the run up to Christmas, just get in touch with The Insurance Centre today for a no-obligation review of your current cover and a chat about your unique requirements. Get in touch on 01524 848506.



[1] Top 3 causes of fires in December – and how to avoid them | Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service (

[2] Christmas fire safety: Statistics & tips (

[3] Millions face fire risk sleeping with Christmas lights on (