Seasonal Office Fires – Watch Your Fairy Lights!

by Michael Addison in Safety | posted:

office christmas fire

If your workplace is anything like ours, then Christmas is already here. That means Christmas trees, fairy lights and jaunty jingles abound. Only a Scrooge would shirk at the sight of this delightful set-up. (Yes, that’s a llama).


While this season of cheer is warranted, your business should be aware of potential hazards that litter the season. Prepare your festive merriment from becoming a fire-ridden disaster with this helpful advice.


Can Christmas Lights Catch Fire?

First things first, Indoor Christmas lights. The Health and Safety Executive busted this myth about needing them PAT(Portable Appliance Testing) Tested every year. A simple visual inspection should give you a good enough indication of their condition.  Avoid plugging in any broken bulbs, frayed wires and busted sockets into the electrics.

See, it’s not the number of lights you adorn upon the tree or around the office; the simplest case of a fire bursting out is from the electrics short-circuiting. Take this video from Mythbusters for instance, 2500 bulbs lit up at the same time just brought out some smoke, but once the electrics shorted out. Well…

The tree lit up faster than you can say fire hazard.


The Christmas Injury List

For some, the time of Christmas turns out to be a series of unfortunate events. Fires can start from any catalogue of reasons:

Candles – People in some countries, like Switzerland, still prefer to use candles. As a result of this, fires from candles has led to dozens of injuries over time. Never leave candles unattended or place them near the Christmas trees.

Cooking: In 2015/16 there were around 529,000 incidents attended by fire and rescue services in England. Kitchen fires are more of an “all season” fire hazard. In fact, they are the most common cause of fires; this is from overheated microwaves, dirty grills and unattended ovens. Keep an eye out on any ovens, and be sure to get your portable electronics like microwaves PAT tested.

Decorations – The National Fire Protection Association reported that decoration fires caused an annual average of 11.4 million in direct property damage. Try to use flame retardant decorations when possible. If you have paper or cardboard, then reframe from placing them around light fittings and radiators.

Speaking of decorations, in a product safety report, one woman dropped a four-foot wooden Santa on her foot, spraining it.

You could say the holidays can be a real nightmare before Christmas.


Seasonal PAT Testing

With the ever-increasing cuts to the UK fire service, being practical and prepared is just as important than ever. Now, we aren’t saying you should put Rudolph away this season, but a seasonal PAT test will give you the peace of mind to stay merry, not anxious of an electrical blowout.

While you should be able to tell what sort of condition your Christmas lights are in, other office electronics may not be as easy to spot. Think of how many electrical items you have in the workplace. The monitor, it’s power lead, kettle and even the kettle base.

All these electrical items are prone to failure if you’re not diligent.


A Direct365 PAT test offers a fully itemised report. Not a stove is left unturned as we will correctly test any and all portable electrical appliances.

Our service even offers free Minor repairs, covering a quick fix for your minor faults like fuses, plug tops and IEC leads at no extra cost!

For a fully accredited (NICEIC, UKAS, BIFM, CHAS), expert and nationwide service.
And a free, no-obligation quote to boot.

Get in touch today.

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