Festive Fire Safety

The introduction of festive decorations, lights and other electrical decorations will increase the fire loading (the flammable materials and items in the building) and may increase the risk of fire in your premises.  Therefore the following advice should be considered before decorating your premises. 

  • Step 1 - Review your fire risk assessment
  • Step 2 - Identify the additional fire hazards and calculate the risks
  • Step 3 - Identify who is at risk (especially the young, elderly, disabled)
  • Step 4 - Identify the control measures required using a hierarchy of control
  • Step 5 - Record your significant findings, and instruct your employees
  • Do not conceal or obscure fire exit signs, call points, fire alarm sounders, emergency lights, fire fighting equipment or emergency isolation points (e.g. gas, electric isolation points) with decorations
  • Consider additional exit and directional notices where necessary
  • Do not obstruct fire escape doors or routes
  • Do not place Christmas trees, lights or decorations in the means of escape
  • Paper trimmings and cotton wool are extremely flammable and should not be used
  • Decorations should be suitably spaced so that if a fire does occur it cannot easily spread from one decoration to another
  • Positioning of any decorations should be considered, and care taken to ensure that they are not in close proximity to ignition sources and where possible, fire retardant materials should be used
  • Fire retardant foil decorations and fire resistant paper decorations are available from suppliers, and should always be used in public areas of licensed premises
  • If you have a natural Christmas tree ensure that it is watered daily as a Christmas tree which has dried out can be highly flammable
  • Avoid placing Christmas trees in areas where they can be easily knocked over
  • Christmas trees should be placed in a suitable stable container to prevent it falling over
  • Christmas trees should never be put in positions where they obstruct, or obscure from sight, the 'means of escape' emergency exit signs, fire alarm call points and fire fighting equipment
  • Lighted candles must never be placed on or near any Christmas tree
  • All lighting and electrical decorations used should be tested before use by a competent person, and meet the relevant British Safety Standard (marked with the appropriate Kite or CE mark)
  • Ensure that electrical circuits are not overloaded.  If you have to use more than one plug per socket, use an extension lead with a multi socket (marked with the appropriate Kite or CE mark)
  • Don’t let bulbs touch anything that can burn easily, such as paper or fabrics
  • Switch off all Christmas lights and decorations at night
  • If candles are provided on dining tables, ensure that an accumulation of combustible materials, such as party hats or wrapping paper does not occur
  • Consider extinguishing candles immediately after the meal has finished
  • All combustible waste must be placed in metal waste bins, removed from the building, and placed in suitable waste containers as soon as possible
  • Do not exceed the recommended occupancy limits for your premises (note, your occupancy limits should be identified in your fire risk assessment)

For further information visit our public information on Christmas fire safety