The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) estimates that some 80,000 people will end up in hospital over the Christmas period, and over 6,000 on Christmas Day, says Jane Embury, from Devizes-based advanced glazing specialists, Wrightstyle.
Most risks can easily be anticipated and avoided – keeping stairs clutter-free, for example. Yet there are some 1,000 injuries each year from Christmas trees, including falls and cuts from broken glass ornaments.
RoSPA also says that some 350 people are hurt by Christmas tree lights. Their advice is to “test your lights and the wiring before you put them up…If you have old lights, buy new ones that meet higher safety standards.”
Tragically, people are 50% more likely to die in a house fire over Christmas than at any other time of year. Faulty wiring, overloaded sockets and unattended candles are the main culprits.
RoSPA’s advice is clear. “Never put candles on or near a Christmas tree; never leave an open flame unattended.”
As international specialists in advanced glazing systems, mainly to contain fire and protect escape routes, it’s advice we wholeheartedly endorse.
We know how most fires start from only the smallest of causes – from example, a spark from faulty wiring or a dropped cigarette – but also how fire can quickly get out of control.
So, if you’re buying an artificial tree, make sure it’s labelled as fire-retardant. If real, make sure that it’s not dried out – and water its base every day (being careful about unplugging the tree’s lights).
(Several dozen UK citizens have died over the past 15 years by watering their Christmas tree while the Christmas lights were plugged in).
Also ensure that the tree isn’t sited close to a heat source, like a radiator or open fire, and that it’s not blocking an exit. Always turn out tree lights at night.
Our advanced glazing systems have also been successfully blast tested against both car and lorry bombs, and are specified worldwide.
But one Christmas explosive we haven’t tested against is Christmas pudding. Recently, a 49-year-old woman required hospital treatment after putting her Christmas pud in the microwave where it blew up.
The combination of fruit, sugar and water can react violently. “People must realize that they are dealing with a potential explosive when they put puddings in the microwave,” says RoSPA.
From everyone at Wrightstyle, a happy (and safe!) Christmas.