Every year, candles and lights are used to create a festive atmosphere just in time for Christmas. The fact that especially with open fire the fire danger is high, one did not want to lose also at Christmas from the sense. How you can get through the Christmas season safely without the fire department and with the glow of lights and candlelight, what basic rules should be observed when dealing with candles and what helps to protect yourself and your own four walls against unwanted fire damage, we highlight in this article.
Fire risk increases at Christmas time
Around Christmas time, the fire department has to respond to fires in homes much more often than usual. The number of fires increases at Christmas by a full 40 percent. In addition, around 60 children in Germany are injured so severely by a burning candle at Christmas that medical care becomes necessary. With a dry Christmas tree, it only takes 20 seconds for it to be fully engulfed in flames; after a minute and a half, the flames have consumed it and are reaching for flammable objects in the surrounding area.
Reasons for the high fire risk at Christmas time
The reasons often lie in electrical devices for light and heat as well as easily combustible materials that are stored too close to the heat source. Above all, it is open fire such as candles on an Advent wreath or the Christmas tree. In Scandinavia, the trees for Germany are already cut in November. This means that by Christmas they are already very dry and the dry air in the home favors this process. This makes these Christmas trees particularly flammable.
However, the most frequent fire incidents are due to a burning candle, because the minimum distance to combustible objects of 50 centimeters is not considered or candles are left unattended. Advent wreaths and Christmas trees are combustible substrates and candles can ignite them. If you don’t want to miss out on Christmas greenery with real candles, make sure it’s as fresh as possible. Because the drier the branches and trees are, the easier they ignite, because the needles are made of cellulose essential oils and water. Once the water has evaporated, a very flammable mixture remains behind.
Fairy lights are an alternative to real candles, but they can also cause fires. With fairy lights, it is important that the electrical wiring is intact, because brittle or defective insulation can cause short circuits. If the chain of lights is already older and equipped with incandescent lamps, these are also a possible source of danger. Incandescent lamps develop a temperature of up to 70 degrees Celsius, which in turn can ignite dry fir greenery. LED lights are better, because the heat generated is hardly noticeable and energy-saving they are also.
You should also always keep an eye on your pets, because decorated and lit Christmas trees attract them too. If they knock over a Christmas tree, lit candles or damaged fairy lights can cause a fire.
Why the Christmas tree can be so dangerous?
Since dry needles consist essentially only of cellulose and combustible essential oils, a fire on the tree spreads extremely quickly in less than half a minute. Christmas trees are usually placed in the living room, where fire can quickly spread to flammable furnishings such as curtains, carpet and upholstered furniture.
What to look out for when decorating your Christmas tree?
The Christmas tree should be bought only shortly before the celebration and be set up tip-safe. There are water-filled Christmas tree stands that prevent the tree from drying out quickly. Candles should be kept at least 50 centimeters away from curtains or furniture. Candles should be at least 20 centimeters apart from each other and from branches to prevent them from burning. Attach the decoration material only to stable branches.
How to reduce the risk of fire from Advent wreaths?
A fresh Advent wreath with real candles should last for four weeks. They should stand wobble-free on a fireproof base (for example, made of metal). The recommended distance from flammable objects such as upholstered furniture or books is again 50 centimeters. Furthermore, a draught-free place and only the use of suitable candles is recommended. It is better to extinguish the candles when you leave the room, because if the smell of burning has spread, the damage can already be very large its. Lighters and matches must be kept out of the reach of children.
DFV household insurance protects you against the financial consequences of burglary, fire, water or hail damage. We replace your belongings at replacement value.
- Water damage
- Lightning, storm and hail
Rules for a fire-free Christmas
The Christmas tree should not stand next to the heater because of drying and also do not block escape routes for the fire department. It is best to place a bucket with ten liters of extinguishing water next to the tree for small fires around the tree. For a burning tree itself, a bucket of extinguishing water is not enough; for this, a fire extinguisher ready to hand is suitable. Do not leave the fir greenery in the apartment for too long, because the longer Advent wreaths and Christmas trees are in the apartment, the easier they burn. As an alternative, Christmas trees made of flame-retardant plastic are available. These should, however, have an appropriate TuV seal.
How to protect yourself and your house
Alarm systems such as carbon monoxide detectors and smoke detectors are always useful for your and your family’s safety, and in every home. Fires with carbon monoxide development are very dangerous, as people faint from this odorless gas. Especially at night, when you are already asleep, you can only be warned by an alarm system. The sense of smell does not work when you are asleep, so even if there is smoke, people notice a fire too late or not at all. Hearing, on the other hand, is active even during sleep, and smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors can be a timely warning.
However, if a fire does occur, homeowner’s insurance covers all movable property. This includes furniture, clothing and computers, but also cash and jewelry to a certain extent. Household insurance often does not pay in case of gross negligence. This mainly includes cases where a burning candle was left unattended. In addition to an open fire without supervision, a switched-on stove top or children without supervision also counts as gross negligence.
DFV-HausratSchutz protects you against the financial consequences of burglary, fire, water or hail damage. We replace your belongings at replacement value.
- Water damage
- Lightning, storm and hail
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