Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Make sure your New Years Eve Celebration is not a burn out

Like Christmas, New Years Eve again presents electrical and fire risk. With only a few days to prepare for what can be the biggest party of the year, dangerous risks are often taken in order to get New Years Eve celebrations under way.

With so many distractions during this time of year, it is easy to overlook some basic safety considerations. There are more accidental house fires during December and January than at any other time during the year. However, many fires can be prevented by following a few simple precautions to make sure your party goes without a hitch.

What are the fire risks

Well actually, the risk of fire actually increases over the New Year. This is because often Christmas decorations are still in place and materials such as festive hats, party popper materials as well as the biggest risk – fire from cooking – can all add to a major fire in your home when you are not expecting it.

With so many people focused on Christmas safety, it is easy to not even think about New Years Eve until the day itself. Staying electrically and firesafe over the New Year is just as important as at any other time. The team here at Fulcher Edwards have made a check list to ensure that you stay safe throughout the festive holidays and give to 2014 the best ever start.

Check list of staying safe this New Years Eve

To make sure you are listening to the sounds of Big Ben at midnight and not the sound of a fire engine siren consider our safety tips for a safe – and fun – New Years Eve celebration.

  • Store fireworks in a metal box when not in use. Once lit to not return to the firework and always keep a bucket of water handy. Fireworks have been known to spark fires in surrounding trees and bushes. Always consider these when choosing where to set them off.

  • Keep candles away from Christmas trees and other furnishings. Always place on a flat surface such as a shelf, never on electrical equipment and always out of reach of children. Never leave candles burning unattended.

  • Keep candles, matches and lighters out of the reach of children. Fires can start easily without an adult realising.

  • Don't attach any type of decoration to heaters or lights as this heat will easily ignite them.

  • Switch off electrical appliances when not in use and take extra care with fairy lights and outdoor lights. Use the same precautions as when using Christmas lights – use an RCD socket on all outdoor lights and avoid overloading sockets indoors. Never be tempted to attach 2 flexes to one plug in order to power more items. This is very dangerous.

  • Never leave cooking unattended – most accidental fires start in the kitchen due to cooking left unattended. It is an easy mistake to make, especially when spending time with guests seems to be more important.

  • Ensure cigarettes are not still lit when discarding them and never leave ashtrays in the reach of children.

  • Check the battery in your smoke alarm every week and make sure each smoke alarm in your property is free of dust and debris.

  • Have a fire escape plan in mind – and make sure your friends and family know what it is. Think about how you would escape from your property if your main exit routes were blocked.


Following these simple safety precautions will keep your home and family safe from fire. It is not just over Christmas and New Year that you need to stay safe, it is a year round consideration. It is never too late to start thinking about home safety and doing so may one day save your life.

We hope you have a very Merry (and safe) Christmas and A very Happy New Year from all of us here at Fulcher Edwards. We look forward to writing to you all again in 2014! :)

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

On the 12th day of Christmas my true love gave to me.....

Extra fuel to a house fire.....

Well let us hope not! A sobering thought to anyone in the midst of celebrating this festive season is the fact that you are 50% more likely to die in a house fire over the Christmas period than at any other time during the year.

How to stay safe during the 12 days of Christmas and beyond....

Ensuring you purchase only safe electrical items and ensure they are used safely is a great start, however even the best managed household can quickly become an inferno with the added complacency that automatically occurs over Christmas.

Christmas Trees.

Christmas trees are one of the biggest culprits of electrical and other injuries with over 1000 visits every year to A&E taking place thanks to an injury caused by a Christmas tree. A further 350 people visit A&E following an injury caused by Christmas tree lights. Avoid storing items too close to your Christmas tree – just this week a house fire was caused by clothing being left too close to a Christmas tree, the fire was discovered and put out by the householders who luckily were at home and were alerted by their smoke alarm. However, had they have not been at home, or worse still had no smoke alarm, this story would have been far worse.

A video showing how quickly a Christmas tree can ignite a room can be seen here In less than one minute, fire has engulfed a room. For anyone who doesn't yet have a smoke alarm, please watch this video, it will be a wake up call.

Decorations, lights and Christmas cards

These are all part of Christmas, however they are also excellent fuel to a fire. The best advice is to not overload extension leads, and ensure an RCD is used on outdoor Christmas lights. It is also important to switch all lights off before going to bed. Now is the time of year to test your smoke alarm if you haven't done so recently and if need be replace the batteries. Never be tempted to take the batteries out and if you don't currently have a smoke alarm, advice can be obtained from fire alarm services companies in London to ensure your home is as protected as possible from fire.

In addition, be aware of babies and young children who may be tempted to pull at Christmas lights and cable leading to risk of electric shock. Christmas tree light bulbs and decorations can also be a choking hazard.

Fake Electrical Products

This year is no exception to the amount of fake electrical goods being offered for sale by unscrupulous traders. Do not shop out of desperation. If that much wanted gadget is suddenly readily available at a cheap price, then alarm bells should be ringing. Always shop from reputable stores and if you have a concern about an electrical item then do not use it.

Next Monday will be the biggest shopping day in the run up to the festive season, so be sure to stay on your guard against fake electricals.


Take a few simple precautions now will ensure you have the merriest of Christmases and what may seem like a “Christmas killjoy” article may save your life!

If you have an electrical concern, it is worth calling an electrical contractor in London who will take a look for you. It is better to address the problem now than risk it manifesting itself over the festive season.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

How to ensure your Christmas lights don't ruin the festive season

Christmas lights are designed to enhance the festivities and brighten up your home in anticipation of the Christmas festivities.

Every household will have a treasured Christmas decoration or lighting that has to go on display every year, however it may be this that could potentially spoil your Christmas should it cause a fire.

The Risks

Many people are unaware of the fire risks and toxic materials contained in fairy lights, Christmas decorations and candles and with the festive season comes lowered awareness of dangers thanks to alcohol and homes being empty for increased periods of time.

Add to this the Christmas tree, presents and wrapping paper and you have a ready made inferno in your home. In 2012, there were 22 accidental fires in the Cambridge area alone during December.

There is a lot to think about in the run up to Christmas, so thinking about what you use for this years home decorations can save tragedy during the time that matters most. Electrical safety should always be a key consideration when considering what to use to decorate your home this year.

How to prevent an electrical fire

  • When selecting fairy lights, check to see if there is a transformer box (a large black or white plug.) If the plug is a normal size then your lights are not low voltage. This presents a potential fire hazard should any of the bulbs blow when in use or if an electrical fault develops.

  • Outdoor lights should only be used if the lights are suitable for outdoor use. Take care when plugging them in. A special outdoor electrical socket needs to be used. An electrical contractor in London would be pleased to assist with your outdoor electrical requirements to ensure you stay safely plugged in this Christmas.

  • Is your home RCD protected? If not, it will be worth your while purchasing some RCD sockets to plug your Christmas lighting into. That way, if a fault develops the RCD will activate thereby avoiding fire and a potential electrical accident in your home. RCD sockets are low cost and available from most electrical high street outlets.

  • If your home does not have a smoke alarm currently, now is the time to get one. You can purchase battery powered or have professionally installed fire alarm systems installed in your London home. Ensure your smoke alarms are tested weekly throughout the year.

Once your decorations are up

It is important to safely use your Christmas decorations in accordance to the manufacturers instructions when in use.

Over Christmas it is easy to overlook electrical safety when you are too busy entertaining guests, having a drink or cooking whilst being distracted. There has been more than one paper hat ignited on a gas flame! and don't be tempted to hang Christmas decorations from lights and heaters as they can easily ignite.

In particular never be tempted to overload electrical extension leads and sockets and always switch off your Christmas lights before going to bed. There is always additional demand placed on electrical sockets over Christmas, so to avoid an electrical fire why not consider having additional sockets installed by an electrical engineer in London? Putting electrical safety at the top of your list this Christmas will ensure you have the merriest of Christmases!


Taking a little time now to ensure you are using the safest decorations available and ensuring they are being used safely can mean one less thing to worry about over the festive season.

Spreading the Christmas electrical safety message will ensure that more households stay safe during this festive season, leaving you time to concentrate on other important tasks such as present buying and food ordering!

Phew, its non-stop!