Over 19 million homes at risk of fire this Christmas

As 90 per cent of Brits admit to decorating their home and garden in the next few weeks, less than a quarter (23 per cent) would consider the impact this might have on the electrics in their home. 

The study, which surveyed 2,000 UK tenants and homeowners, found that 42 per cent of Brits paid more attention to aesthetics than safety, with 1 in 5 admitting to feeling they needed to compete with their friends and neighbours. 

Inevitably, the increase in decorative lights require the use of multiple sockets and extension leads, yet less than 3 percent were concerned about the amount of lights they were using and whether they could be of danger to their family. 

Tony Cable, Senior Electrical Engineer for NICEIC and ELECSA comments: ‘Just grabbing old lights from the loft and plugging them in isn’t acceptable. Everyone needs to be aware of the dangers and take into account the risks when getting competitive with the neighbours.’

Brits are advised to think safety first when decorating their home this Christmas. 

NICEIC and ELECSA have identified the top five tips to ensure householders’ homes stay electrically safe this Christmas. 

1. Do not overload sockets – Try to avoid extensive use of extension sockets and adapters. Do not plug multiple extensions into each other. 

2. Do not re-wire your lights – Many homeowners will be tempted, or have already rewired lights to include 2, 3 or sometimes 4 sets of lights into a single plug. This is dangerous and causes a potential fire risk. 

3. Make sure lights you use outside are certified safe for external use -Only use outdoor lights that have been specifically designed to be used outdoors. If you are unsure check the manufacturers’ instructions. 

4. Do not leave lights on for long periods – Many homeowners will be tempted to keep lights on for 24 hours, overnight or even more concerning, leave them on when they go out. All Christmas lights increase the risk of fire and overloading and should only be switched on whilst you are at home. 

5. Always use Christmas lights that have been certified for use – This can be identified by the European Standards Symbol (represented by a CE) and the British Standards Kitemark. If in doubt, don’t use them. Always buy lights from reputable stores. 

If anyone is concerned about the safety of their home electrics, or would like to obtain professional advice about their Christmas lights, they can visit www.niceic.com/safechristmas or www.elecsa.co.uk/safechristmas 

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