festive fire safety

Preventing Festive Fire Hazards:
December Fire Safety Tips


It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

As South Africans, we love the festive season. The warmth of December, the joy of family gatherings, and the sparkle of holiday decorations bring a unique charm. Amidst all this merriment, it’s essential to remember one crucial aspect – fire safety. 

The combination of hot summer weather, holiday lights, candles, and cooking can increase the risk of fires, so read on as we share our December fire safety tips to keep you and your loved ones safer this festive season.


festive fire safety


Decorate with Care

  • Holiday decorations, including fairy lights, candles, and tinsel, are essential for setting the festive mood. However, these can also pose fire hazards if not used properly.
  • When using fairy lights or other electrical decorations, make sure to inspect each set for frayed wires, broken bulbs, or any signs of damage before use. Damaged lights can cause an electrical short, leading to a fire. Replace any damaged sets immediately.
  • Always turn off and unplug these decorations when you leave the house or go to bed. Unattended electrical decorations can overheat and spark a fire.
  • If you’re using candles, never leave them unattended, even for a minute. An unattended candle can easily start a fire if it comes in contact with flammable materials. Keep them away from flammable materials like curtains, wrapping paper, or holiday decorations. Always place candles on a stable surface and extinguish them before leaving the room.


Safe Summer Braais

  • A South African December is incomplete without a traditional braai. As much as we enjoy these, it’s crucial to practise barbecue safety.
  • Ensure your braai is set up well away from your home, structures, trees, and outdoor furniture. A wayward spark can quickly ignite these items. Also, keep a fire extinguisher or bucket of sand nearby in case the fire gets out of control.
  • Never leave your braai unattended. Fires can spread quickly, and it only takes a moment for a safe situation to become dangerous.
  • Finally, make sure your braai is completely out before you pack up. Coals can remain hot for hours and can ignite nearby flammable items.


Cooking Up Memories, Not Disaster

  • Festive cooking often means busy kitchens and multiple dishes being prepared simultaneously. This can increase the risk of fires, making it essential to be mindful while cooking.
  • Never leave your cooking unattended. If you need to step away, turn off the stove or ask someone to watch over it.
  • Keep your cooking area clear of flammable items, including oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, and towels. A spark can easily ignite these items.
  • As a precaution, ensure your smoke alarm is working. It’s your first line of defence in case of fire, providing early warning and precious time to escape.


Prepare Your Home

  • Your home should be prepared for potential fire emergencies, especially during the festive season.
  • Regularly check that your smoke detectors are working. These devices can provide early warning of a fire, giving you and your family time to escape.
  • Ensure your fire extinguishers are not expired. An expired fire extinguisher might not work when you need it most.
  • Plan an escape route from each room in your house. Make sure everyone in the family knows these routes. Practise these escape plans regularly to ensure everyone knows what to do in case of a fire.


Check Your Insurance

Despite all precautions, accidents can happen. Ensure that your home insurance policy is up-to-date and covers fire damage. If you’re unsure, get in touch with your insurance broker to review your policy.

As we dip out toes into the festive season, let’s make safety a priority. By taking these precautions, we can enjoy the festivities while keeping our homes and loved ones safe from fire risks.  Contact our team if you have any questions about your insurance this holiday season.

Stay safe, South Africa, and have a joyful festive season!