Homeowners have been warned of fire dangers during the confusing period between Christmas and New Year.

Dave Williams, said every year around 21,000 homeowners suffered from damage from fires or explosions.

“The festive period is one of the worst times of the year for this kind of insurance claim, with one in five of all house fires caused by candles occurring during December.

“And almost half of these incidents happen between Christmas and New Year, so it’s vital that families remain vigilant during the hectic and exciting festive season.”

Mr Williams said with everything going on, it was easy to let your guard down and ignore risks that ordinarily you’d be more cautious about.

“During the quieter time between Christmas and January 1st, your Christmas tree will probably have been in the house for several weeks and if it has dried out, it’s an increased fire risk.

“Check if it’s still fresh by tapping the trunk and if lots of needles fall, it will have been cut a while ago so you’ll need to take extra care.”

Mr Williams said dust that accumulates in old artificial trees is also dangerous, so homeowners may consider using a fire-retardant spray.

“Don’t hang stockings, cards or decorations near a working fireplace, or in front of heaters or lights, and turn off your television and other electrical appliances when you leave the house, rather than leaving them on standby.

“If you’ve bought electrical goods online, such as festive lights or decorations, take care that they are legitimate because otherwise they are unlikely to have passed rigorous health and safety tests.”
Mr Williams said it was clear that candles and decorations were a risk, but a large number of house fires were also caused by cooking.

“According to the Association of British Insurers, the average home insurance claim for a fire is around £20,000, so you need to make sure you have an accurate idea of how much cover you require.

“If you underestimate, you may be left out of pocket as your payout may not cover your losses – take care to read the small print and ensure you have adequate and appropriate protection in place.”