There are two main reasons why we want you to be safe and secure over Christmas.
- Home security – Keeping your home secure over the Christmas period is very important as it is a prime time for burglaries.
- Electrical safety – Using faulty electrical decorations, over loading sockets, over loading adapters and extension leads can create potentially dangerous situations leading to electric shock and fire hazards.
This guide offers tips and advice on keeping your home and family safe and secure during the Christmas period.
‘The weeks leading up to Christmas are the biggest shopping weeks of the year and for many retailers often accounts for 70% of their annual revenue. Stocking our homes with the latest electronic gadgets, computers, jewellery and must-have accessories is the norm, unfortunately though it provides thieves with the perfect incentive to commit burglaries’. Immobilise, The UK National Property Register
So how can we keep those pesky burglars at bay?
- Do you have a burglar alarm?
If not, it’s worth investing in one. An alarm fitted by a registered security engineer can bring the price of your home insurance down. It can also protect the property when you are at home, where most people set it when they go to bed, and obviously when you are out.
- Do you have an alarm but don’t use it?
There are far too many people who have an alarm system in place but never use it. This is a great chance to start using it again. A full service on the system will ensure that all of the sensors, the external bell and the key pad are working properly. It will also ensure any faulty batteries are changed.
- Is the exterior of your home well lit?
Many homes at Christmas put up lights around the house and garden. This is a great deterrent for burglars as it leaves no cover of darkness. If you don’t put up Christmas lights have no external lighting, you can invest in some flood lights. They have sensors so will only come on if someone is outside, on or around your property.
- Where do you store your Christmas presents? Is it secure?
Generally people store their Christmas presents in the home but gifts, such as bikes and large toys, are kept in the garage or shed. It’s important to ensure that these areas are secure. Locks can be a deterrent but it doesn’t take much to get past a lock. An alarm would be advisable and much more effective.
- How do you feed electricity to your external Xmas lights or decorations?
Quite often people feed their lights through their windows. ‘Government statistics show that 30% of burglaries happen through windows.’ Immobilise. This can also be unsafe from an electrical point of view. The safest option is to ask a registered electrician to install some outside sockets.
‘Once a year, twinkling fairy lights and colourful Christmas illuminations are retrieved from damp, dusty storage spaces to deck our homes for the festive season. But, poorly stored, old electrical decorations and overloaded sockets create unnecessary hazards at this time of year.’ These hazards being electric shock and fire.’ Electrical Safety Council
Here’s how to avoid creating these hazards.
- Do you have RCD protection?
RCD protection is particularly important when using electricity outside. If you are using electrical decorations that could potentially be faulty and unsafe, an RCD will prevent the risk of electric shock by cutting off the power if a fault occurs. An RCD is now a safety requirement which comes as standard on all new fuse boards. If you don’t have one then it’s worth investing in one. You can purchase individual RCD’s which plug into a normal plug socket. If you have a set of Christmas lights that you are concerned about you can buy a plug in RCD to protect you.
- Do you use adapters and extensions leads?
If you don’t need these at Christmas then when will you need them? Extra lights, extra decorations, new gadgets and appliances all need somewhere to get their power. Using adapters and extension leads in moderation aren’t necessarily unsafe, but over loading them can lead to over-heating, which can cause a fire hazard. If you really need more power outlets, then contact a registered electrician and get some new sockets installed.
- Do you have smoke alarms?
It is now part of building regulations in new properties to have smoke alarms fitted in the hallway and landing as a minimum. Smoke alarms are a key safety device for any home, particularly at Christmas time when you have a house full.
- How old are your electrical decorations?
- Do they meet British Standards?
- Do they have loose wires, loose bulbs?
- Do they look safe?
If in doubt, purchase some new ones. We strongly recommend LED lights.
LED fairy lights
- Reduce the risk of electric shock,
- Use less power
- Generate less heat
- Less expensive
- Safer to use
- Made of a special plastic, there aren’t any breakable glass bulbs
- They save energy
- Environmentally friendly
- Save on energy bills.
Summary: Top 10 Safety Tips
1. Use RCD protection on all Christmas lighting
2. Don’t feed electricity supply to the outside through windows
3. Check all Christmas lights for any damage. Replace if in doubt!
4. Buy LED Christmas lights
5. Use externally IP rated connections for external lights
6. Make sure that you use your alarm and is serviced to ensure in good working order
7. Illuminate any dark areas around the house to prevent cover for thieves
8. Don’t overload adapters and extension leads – fire hazard
9. Smoke alarms – test if you have install if you don’t have
10. If you don’t have an alarm system – get one!
7th November 2012