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Winter Fire Hazards

The festive season is a time of celebration and relaxation, but it can also bring added fire hazards, so here are a few tips for a safe and happy Christmas.

You should:
· Have a working smoke alarm fitted in your home.
· Test your smoke alarm(s) every week and make sure to replace the battery or the smoke alarm if it isn’t working.

The extra fire hazards in the home include:
· Candles
· Christmas trees, Christmas lights and decorations
· Overloaded sockets
· E-scooters/ E-bikes

Candles
· Choose reusable LED candles over real candles.
· If you choose to use real candles, ensure that they are placed in a safe location and in a holder. (A safe location is at least 1 metre from anything flammable and out of reach of children and pets.)
· Don’t place a candle on plastic surfaces such as a television.
· Never place a real candle in or near a Christmas Tree.
· Never leave a candle burning when you leave a room. Not even for a moment.

Christmas Tree, Lights and Decorations
· An artificial tree is safer than a real tree.
· If you choose a real tree, use it with a base that allows for watering of the tree. This will keep it from drying out and more resistant to fire.
· Check all the wiring for fraying or broken connections. Throw the lights out if you find any.
· Unplug lights when you go to bed or go out.
· Never attach decorations to lights or heaters.

E-scooters, E-bike, and Hoverboards
When buying:
· Ensure you make your purchase from a reputable retailer.
· Verify that the e-scooter or e-bicycle meets European Safety Standards (CE Mark).
· If the instruction manual is missing, not in English, or contains spelling/grammar errors, consider returning the product.

Charging and Battery Safety:
· Always use the charger provided with the product, and, if you need a replacement, obtain one from the manufacturer or retailer.
· Charge outdoors when possible; never charge them in communal areas within apartment buildings, as these are designated fire escape routes.
· If indoor charging is necessary, select a location that allows for escape from all rooms in your home, avoiding areas like hallways. Plan your escape routes in advance.
· Unplug when fully charged – do not charge overnight.
· Unplug the charger when leaving your home.
· Never cover with insulating materials like coats or sweaters, as the battery generates heat during use and charging, which must dissipate.

Fire Safety:
· In the event of a fire, close the door to the room or apartment where the fire is located to contain the smoke and fire, allowing more time for evacuation.
· Evacuate your home immediately; in an apartment block, use the fire alarm break-glass unit or shout to alert others.
· When it is safe to do so, call emergency services at 999 or 112 and inform them that an e-scooter or e-bicycle is involved in the incident.

Santa is very busy and sometimes he forgets the batteries. Check in with him before Christmas and have a stock of batteries just in case he does. Never be tempted to remove batteries from Smoke or Carbon Monoxide Alarms.

We recognise that not everyone celebrates Christmas. If you have any recommendations on how to make our communications more inclusive, or would like to offer specific guidance around your own cultural celebrations, please do get in touch with the team on email at myvoice@cluid.ie.

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