Seasonal Fire Safety

13 December 2012

It’s that time of year again and the festivities have begun, but we mustn’t forget additional fire hazards, both at home and in the workplace, that arise during the Christmas period.

Lets take a look at schools for example. Fire safety is of paramount importance at any school all year round, and all are legally required to carry out a thorough fire risk assessment that will identify any potential hazards and inform of ways to reduce these risks. It is important that seasonal fire risks are taken into account during the risk assessment and it’s a good idea to review your fire safety procedures at this time.

Christmas is a fun time for the kids – even for the teachers, but lets make sure it doesn’t turn disastrous and look at ways in which we can prevent a potential fire.

  • Schools are bound to have decorated hallways and classrooms with all kinds of festive decorations, but make sure these aren’t blocking any escape routes and fire exits. They may look pretty, but they certainly shouldn’t compromise everyone’s safety.
  • It is always recommended to buy flame retardant decorations, but it is likely that the kids will have made things like paper chains and tree decorations using glue and card. These are particularly flammable and should be kept away from anything electrical, any heat sources including light fittings, and again escape routes and exits.
  • Fairy lights are also a popular choice when it comes to Christmas decorations – leave these to a responsible adult and make sure they have been safety tested before you put them up. Always remember to switch them off at the end of the working day and don’t overload electrical outlets.
  • If you have a real Christmas tree on the school grounds make sure it is fresh with a resin coated trunk to reduce the risk of it catching fire. Artificial trees should be flame retardant, or at least have been treated with flame retardant substances. This should be stated on the product packaging.
  • Try not to leave these decorations up over the 2 week break to prevent hazards whilst no one is around.
  • Make sure all school fire alarms are fully working – these should be tested at leat once a week and children and teachers should know the procedure in the potential event of a fire.
  • Also be mindful that during your Christmas productions, the school hall/function room will have more people in than normal. Make sure the safe seated and standing capacity of the hall is not exceeded and all exit routes are available before the performance.

The same goes for any place of work – have fun, but be aware of any extra hazards Christmas festivities can pose. If you are at all in doubt, contact Total Fire Services for peace of mind –professional fire safety consultants that can carry out fire risk assessments and make sure you are fully compliant.

Wishing everyone a happy and enjoyable Christmas.


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