Five common mistakes that put your home at risk of a fire this Christmas

Christmas is one of the busiest times of year for firefighters

The candles, fairy lights and lovingly prepared dinner are all part of what makes the festive season special. However, they also amount to an increased Christmas fire risk.

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Last December firefighters experienced a 12 per cent surge in call-outs compared to the usual monthly average. Over the last three years, fire crews have tackled 2,300 fires on Christmas Day.

To help you stay safe this Christmas ADT's (opens in new tab) Fire Safety Expert Peter Lackey has shared his top fire safety tips for Christmas.

fire safety tips for Christmas

(Image credit: Future PLC/Joanna Henderson)

Fire safety tips for Christmas

1. Leave matches to cool before throwing away

This is an easy mistake that so many of us make, especially when lighting candles at Christmas time. 'Always let hot matches cool in a metal or ceramic dish before disposing of them,' warns Peter.

2. Don't overcrowd electrical outlets

don't overcrowd electrical outlets

(Image credit: Future PLC/Joanna Henderson)

'With 50 per cent of domestic fires attributed to electrical faults, seasonal Christmas lighting adds to the overall fire risk unless used correctly,' points out Peter. Avoid overcrowding electrical outlets, and only use extension cords when necessary.

3. Never run cables underneath carpets

If you are running out of sockets on one side of the room for any decorations or lights, do not be tempted to run them from another socket underneath a rug or carpet. When people walk over the cables this compresses and breaks down the insulation, increasing the fire risk.

'Keep an eye on sockets and fuses that blow for no reason. Flickering lights and scorch marks on sockets or plugs are easy signs which can alert you to unsafe environments,' adds Peter.

4. Position candles away from decorations

position candles away from decorations

(Image credit: Future PLC/Polly Eltes)

Candles around the Christmas tree might look pretty, but it is not safe. Make sure your candles are placed on a stable surface away from the tree, decor and soft furnishings.

'It is also crucial to ensure candles are not placed on top of any materials or wiring that can easily be tripped up on or pulled off surfaces,' adds Peter. 'Make sure they are extinguished before bedtime.'

5. Swap candles for LED versions

Faux candles are a great substitute for the real thing if you live in a home with young children and pets who could accidentally knock them over. Brands such as The Range sell a variety of LED tea lights and pillar candles.

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It pays to be extra careful at Christmas. Turn off any electrical lights when not in use and don't leave a candle unattended. You can never be too safe.

Rebecca Knight
Rebecca Knight

Rebecca Knight has been the Deputy Editor on the Ideal Home Website since 2022. She graduated with a Masters degree in magazine journalism from City, University of London in 2018, before starting her journalism career as a staff writer on women's weekly magazines. She fell into the world of homes and interiors after joining the Ideal Home website team in 2019 as a Digital Writer. In 2020 she moved into position of Homes News Editor working across Homes & Gardens, LivingEtc, Real Homes, Gardeningetc and Ideal Home covering everything from the latest viral cleaning hack to the next big interior trend.