Fire Safety at Christmas

Fire Safety at Christmas

Christmas time is a great time of family and togetherness. However it can also be a time of increased fire risk. In order to have a fire safe Christmas please remember the following advice.

Your Chimney

Have your chimney cleaned before the holiday season.

Christmas Tree

  • Purchase a non-shedding tree. Check the tree for freshness before purchase, fresh needles will bend, dry needles will break. Needles should not fall off if you bang the trunk on the ground.
  • As soon as you get home cut at least 25mm off the trunk, this exposes fresh wood. Immediately place the tree in a bucket of water and if you are not setting up the tree for a few days keep it outside standing in a bucket of water.
  • Avoid placing the tree close to a fireplace or radiator. Be careful not to block a door with the Christmas tree or the re arranged furniture.
  • The tree should be mounted in a sturdy stand. The trunk of the tree should stand in a container of water and the water should be kept topped up. Tall trees should be secured at the top.
  • Ensure lights comply with a safety standard. Check lights for frayed or exposed wires. Do not attempt to repair a worn set of lights, replace them. Replace broken bulbs only with similar bulbs. Do not leave lights on for prolonged periods and always switch off lights at night and when leaving the area unattended.
  • Decorations should preferably be non combustible.
  • Turn off the heat in the room at night to slow the drying out of the tree.
  • Remove the tree as soon as possible after Christmas. It is recommended that the tree should not be kept indoors for more than two weeks. Dispose of the tree at a bring site/ recycling centre. Never burn a tree in a wood stove or fireplace.
  • Artificial trees should be flame retardant, check the label.


  • Place candles in a secure holder and locate them where they cannot be easily knocked over.
  • Do not place candles on a Christmas tree. Do not go near a Christmas tree with any naked flame, lighter, matches or candles.
  • Never leave lighted candles unattended and never place them close to combustible decorations or to curtains.
  • Put tea candles and night lights on a suitable heat resistant container. Never put them directly on a combustible surface e.g. television or table.

Open Fires

  • Use a spark guard at all times.
  • Never hang Christmas cards or decorations directly over a fireplace.
  • Do not throw wrapping paper onto the fire.

Other Safety Tips

  • A competent adult should fit toys, which are powered from the mains, with a safety plug.
  • Do not overload sockets. Keep cables tidy and avoid a trip hazard.
  • Only use certified outdoor lights outside. Use proper watertight connectors on outdoor lights. Secure outdoor lights against wind damage and locate light strings and power cables where pets cannot chew or become entangled in them.

Last thing at night

  • Unplug lights and other electrical equipment
  • Put a spark guard in front of the fire
  • Check for any smouldering cigarette ends in furniture.
  • Check the kitchen and switch off all appliances.
  • Close all room doors.

Check your smoke alarms now!

12 Days of Christmas Fire Safety leaflet