It’s nearly that time of the year again! Christmas is undoubtedly the favourite holiday for many people. However, the joy that Christmas brings can also bring dangers into your home that are sometimes forgotten about. So we have put together a list of what to keep in mind to help keep you and your home safe over the festive season.
When it comes to the use of candles, it's important to keep them out of reach of children and pets, and keep them well away from curtains and flammable decorations. You should always ensure that the candle is secured in a candleholder on a flat surface whilst also checking them frequently and extinguishing the candle before leaving the house or going to bed. Sometimes the safer option can be to use an electric candle, which poses a much smaller risk of causing a fire and is certainly worth considering.
Another potential fire risk involves the use of Christmas lights – both indoors and outdoors. It is important to only use lights that have the CE marking provided by the National Standards Authority of Ireland. However, keep in mind that even approved lights can pose a risk if they are damaged or used improperly. Fires relating to overloading extension chords and plug sockets are common causes of fires in the home too, especially around Christmas time. Plugging too many appliances into one socket can cause overheating and should be avoided. Also, you may not think it, but Christmas trees are one of the main causes of house fires in the month of December, it can only take up to 30 seconds for your tree to catch fire and cause major fire damage, as proven by the LA Fire Department, so make sure to locate your tree away from fireplaces and radiators, and to only buy artificial trees that are labelled as being fire resistant!
As well as Santa Claus, you may have potential burglars to contend with this Christmas. At this time of the year we typically see a sharp increase in household break-ins, mainly due to the darker evenings, the quantity of presents in each property, and the fact that many people leave homes unattended over the Christmas period. Having contents insurance as part of your home insurance policy can be beneficial around this time of year, given the fact that you are likely to have expensive items in your home. For example, if you are an Allianz customer, we will automatically increase the contents sum insured by 10% during the months of December and January* – helping to give you that extra layer of protection this Christmas! *Standard policy conditions and exclusions apply.
There are a number of precautions that you can take to prevent a burglary occurring in your home. Firstly, make sure your house alarm is activated. Research from Allianz Ireland, conducted by Red C in November 2018, shows that only 35% of people ensure that their house alarm is on whilst they are away. It can be a good idea to ask neighbours, friends, or family to keep an eye on their home whilst going away for extended periods. Once again, only 35% of people rely on their neighbours as an added layer of security. Also, you may not think of it, but your family dog can act as a major deterrent for potential burglars, with 19% of people leaving the dog at home for short periods of absence from the home.
Try not to keep presents in direct view through windows; this can tempt burglars into your home. When disposing of Christmas packaging, try and conceal it amongst other types of rubbish so as not to alert people to the fact that there may be high value items in the house. It’s also worth keeping the radio and lights turned on when you leave for the night or for a prolonged period; Allianz research shows that up to 40% of people do this, as it gives the effect of people being present in the home and can act as a deterrent.
Most of all - enjoy the festive season and take note of these tips to keep you and your home safe! If you're an Allianz customer and you do run into trouble, don’t panic, because Allianz are here to help. Find details of our Emergency Assistance Service here.