Top Tips For Fire & Security Hazards During Christmas

November 30th, 2018

As we approach the festive season many businesses are looking forward to their busiest and most successful period of the year. However, this period is also when businesses are most vulnerable to the dangers of fire and theft.

When we get particularly busy and pressurised, paying the correct amount of attention to fire safety and security protection can often be furthest from our mind.

Tecserv UK has prepared some top tips that are a useful reminder to all businesses to consider in the run up to Christmas and the New Year. Businesses such as retailers, pubs, nightclubs, hotels and restaurants should pay particular attention, as the risk is significantly increased due to increased patronage and the effects of alcohol!

 

1. Temporary staff

During the holiday period many organisations employ temporary staff to cope with the additional workload.

These temporary staff may be inexperienced and may not have received basic fire safety training. In addition, experienced staff may be under higher pressure during this period which can sometimes mean the most basic of safety issues is sometimes overlooked.

TIP

  • Ensure all temporary staff receive fire and security induction training
  • Remind full time staff of the need to ensure fire and security checks are part of their daily routine

 

2. Electrical overload

Overloaded electrical sockets and temporary electrical installations that are drawing too much power from an unsuitable power source is one of the most prevalent causes of fire risk.  Christmas tree lights, illuminated signs and other electrical decorations that are only put up during Christmas are often plugged into already overloaded 13 amp sockets using multi-sockets and extension leads. Mobile discotheques can be another potential fire risk.

TIP

  • Ensure staff are advised not to overload power sockets
  • Ensure all cabling has been PAT tested.
  • Check the equipment used by any external suppliers meets fire safety standards

 

3. Christmas decorations

A more common source of fire at this time of the year is for temporary lighting to ignite paper or plastic Christmas decorations.  Even when the decorations have been positioned with care it is not uncommon for the decorations to become dislodged or moved as the festive activities continue. In extreme cases hot lamps are brought into contact with highly flammable paper or plastic decorations resulting in a fire.

TIP

  • Set out clear rules on the type of décor that can be used
  • Ensure all decorations are checked by your responsible individual

 

4. Open fires

Sometimes an open fire is used as a form of decoration to bring warmth or a festive feel to the party, or to heat a normally unused room. Either way, additional fire safety precautions must be observed when using open fires. It is not uncommon for the rarely used chimney to smoke and cause smoke pollution in the room causing an unwanted fire alarm.

There is a massive temptation to disable, cover, or remove the smoke detector to prevent an unwanted fire alarm. It is then quite common to find the detector still missing or covered several weeks later!

If the open fire has not been used all year, lighting it can be difficult in inexperienced hands. Common sense can be ignored and flammable liquids used to start the fire.  Apart from the obvious risk to the person lighting the fire, the fierce initial blaze caused by lighting highly volatile liquid is also likely to set the chimney on fire or dislodge soot, which can then fall and ignite carpets and hearth rugs.

TIP

  • Only allow trained personnel to light fires
  • Instruct staff NEVER to disable a smoke detector

 

5. Indoor fireworks

Indoor fireworks have become a popular highlight of the festivities and if used correctly can be highly entertaining and very safe.

However, the amount of smoke they will actually produce is often underestimated causing the smoke detection system to activate which can lead to the fire brigade being called out needlessly – again, this can mean that smoke detection systems are disabled!

TIP

  • Instruct staff NEVER to disable a smoke detector
  • Have strict rules for the use of indoor fireworks and conduct a risk assessment