The BOSS Federation is the trade association which serves the UK office supplies and services industry by providing a range of initiatives, cost saving benefits and services, to enhance the business performance of its members.

Festive Fire Safety - from the workplace to the home

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13 December 2017

Make sure it’s a Christmas to remember – for the right reasons!

As we all know, Christmas brings a plethora of extra jobs, both at home and at work – buying presents, last minute rush to get all the work out of the doors, work parties, decorations and of course cooking Christmas dinner for the family and friends.  With such festivities taking place during this period, it’s common for fire safety to take a back seat.

However, would this Christmas be the same with no home to go to? Or Workplace to return to after all the celebrations have ended?

In 2016/17 alone there have been;

• 2480 fires that started with electrics including wiring, cabling and plugs
• 1937 fires involving smoking (214 of which were caused by cigarette lighters)
• 1686 fires involving cooking or flammables
• 843 fires involving candles
• 193 chimney fires
• 57 firework related fires
• 50 fires involving electric blankets

So to help you prepare for the festive season, take a look at our tips for keeping your business, your family and your home safe from fire this Christmas season.

Housekeeping in the Office and Factory

To prevent any unfortunate incident in the workplace, ensure that housekeeping of aspects which could increase risk are tidied up to allow the site to be locked up safely;
o Flammables locked away in a fire-proof cabinet, any waste held external to site, to be taken away by your licenced waste carrier where possible;
o Dirty rags tidied up and sent away for cleaning where possible to avoid overload and risk of fire, or locked away in a fire-proof cabinet/bin;
o Tools unplugged and put in a safe place; with any extension leads unplugged;
o Machinery and compressors turned off;
o Lighting, PCs, Portable Heaters and any other appliances switched off;
o Paper Recycling and any other waste made safe to avoid arson – bring it indoors if this will be safer;

Christmas Lights

Everybody wants to show that they are the most festive on the street - what better way to do so than with Christmas Lights!   By checking the packaging of the product for BSI Kitemark or CE mark, you can ensure your lights conform to the required legislative standards.


Overloaded Plug Sockets

Machinery and tools will be on overload up to year end and electricity is also key to create the Christmas atmosphere, with additional lights on, maybe Christmas carols on the TV in the background!!! One overloaded power socket, however, can lead to a fire. 

Should you plan to use a multitude of appliances simultaneously, consider making use of an online socket overload calculator?  This will advise you of whether you are plugging too many devices into one outlet, risking a fire.

Correctly discard Cigarettes

Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service warn that every week somebody dies from a fire caused by a cigarette.  That last glass of mulled wine may seem like a good idea at the time, but this increases the likelihood of falling asleep with a cigarette whilst under the influence.  Ensure the safety of the whole family by stubbing out your cigarette. 

Arrival of the Christmas Dinner

Throughout the year, cooking fires contribute considerably to fire statistics.  Moreover, London Fire Brigade state that approximately 60% of accidental fires in the home begin in the kitchen. 

On Christmas day, cooking is often made infinitely more stressful, as the extended family arrive expecting only the finest turkeys prepared in their honour.  To meet such expectations, it’s essential that you avoid leaving the cooking unattended, and make sure that loose clothing and tea towels are kept sufficiently clear of the oven and hobs.  Kitchen safety in general must be taken very seriously, in order to avoid a much worse eventuality than a burnt Christmas dinner.

Other important aspects which apply over the festive period

o Placing candles away from furnishings, flammable materials, and the Christmas tree, and ensure they are extinguished before leaving the room.  Also keep an eye on tea lights, ensuring they don’t burn dry!;
o Practicing an escape plan with the family;
o Avoiding highly combustible decorations, especially over the fire, around heated appliances and near candles;
o Unplugging your Christmas tree and decorations before leaving the house or going to sleep;
o Give your smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detection an inspection, making sure it’s fully functional for the busy period ahead;
o Ensure your chimney is swept and properly maintained – Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service recommend that cleaning should be carried out 3 times during the winter season;
o Using fireworks in a safe and responsible manner whether you’re celebrating Christmas, New Year or any other celebration.

The short amount of time taken to look at these fire safety issues will ensure you and yours have a Christmas to remember for all the right reasons.

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