09 December 2010

Northamptonshire county council’s fire and rescue service is advising community groups and organisations to take care when positioning and decorating their Christmas trees.

Many public spaces across the county will be displaying a Christmas tree, both artificial and real pine, during December and some churches and places of worship will be holding Christmas tree festivals. Traditionally these displays consist of a number of trees within the church or another building, which are heavily loaded with tinsel, lights and other decorative pieces.

As Christmas trees and the decorations on them increase the risk of fire within a building, special care should be taken to help reduce this risk. The fire and rescue service recommends initially reviewing the building’s fire procedures and if necessary introducing additional safety measures to manage and reduce the risk of fire or an accident occurring.

Organisers are recommended to consider the following safety tips:

  • Plan the number and placement of the trees so they do not block or restrict access to exits routes.
  • Make sure all exits are clearly marked.
  • Avoid having naked flames on or near any tree.
  • Do not overload sockets with lights and always switch off and unplug lights when they are not in use.
  • Avoid using extension leads and trailing cables and never run cables under a rug or carpet.
  • Make sure all staff or volunteers know what to do in the event of fire.

Chief Fire Officer Martyn Emberson said “Decorating and putting up Christmas trees is lots of fun for people at this festive time of year. People visiting Christmas tree festivals will have an even more enjoyable and safe time if organisers plan so as to reduce the risk of fire or accidents happening.”