Backyard BBQs, fairy lights, and family meals are all part of what makes the Australian holiday season so special.
They do, however, increase the risk of a Christmas fire.
Every year, more than 50 Australians are killed in residential fires, which is more than floods, storms, and bushfires combined.
While our holiday celebrations may be different in 2021, the fire risks around your home are unlikely to have changed. Here are some holiday safety tips to keep you and your family safe and ready for a happy new year.
1. Secure your Christmas tree.
Are Christmas trees flammable? In a nutshell, they could be. So, if you’re going to put up an artificial tree, make sure it’s fire retardant and that it’s placed far away from any open flames. Do you prefer the real thing? Real trees are less flammable, but it is still important to place them in a safe location.
When your tree is decorated, it will be heavier than it appears. It could also attract curious children and pets. To keep your tree from falling over, place it in a heavy pot or stand.
2. Lights should be connected safely.
Check for worn plugs and frayed cords before hanging your holiday fairy or Christmas lights, and make sure they have an Australian Standards label.
It is best not to use double adaptors at power outlets and to use power boards with overload and earth leakage protection. Also, make certain that the outdoor lighting is weatherproof.
Keep lights away from curious little fingers because they can get hot. Also, remember to turn off all lights before going to bed or leaving the house.
3. BBQ safely.
To remove flammable grease from your grill, give it a good scrub before each use.
It’s also a good idea to double-check the expiration date on your gas bottle and look for leaks before firing up the grill.
Always “keep looking while you’re cooking,” and keep combustible items, such as tea towels, away from open flames on BBQs and stoves.
4. Test your smoke alarms.
If a fire starts in your house, you’ll want to know about it as soon as possible.
This is why every Australian is encouraged to install smoke alarms throughout their homes, particularly in bedrooms. The batteries should be changed every 12 months, and the alarm should be replaced every 10 years.
The effort required to ensure smoke alarms are operational is minimal and could save a life. Fire and Rescue NSW recommends that you test your smoke alarms monthly, vacuum them every six months, replace the battery once a year, and replace the smoke alarm unit every ten years.
5. Store chemicals with caution.
With the arrival of warmer weather, many of us are spending more time tending to our gardens and swimming pools. Garden equipment should be refueled in the open, and all containers should be tightly sealed after handling toxic chemicals. Keep out of the reach of children and store in a cool, well-ventilated area.
6. Be careful with fireworks.
It’s wonderful to ring in the New Year with Festive Fireworks. Fireworks are a popular addition to New Year’s Eve celebrations. If you’re going to set off fireworks at home, pick a spot away from buildings and trees. Make sure that your spectators, including children and pets, are well back from the action. Maintain a supply of water or a fire extinguisher on hand. If you live in a drought-stricken area, consider canceling the show this year – a stray spark that lands on dry grass or leaves can start a wildfire.
Set up an emergency exit route and make emergency phone numbers available. It is best practice to indicate an emergency exit route in case of an emergency. Display emergency phone numbers on the fridge and in bedrooms. For more fire safety tips, read our blog.