Making your home warm and cosy during the winter is important, but so is keeping safe.

Here are a few ways to keep safe in the colder months:

Smoke/carbon monoxide alarms

You must test your smoke/heat detector(s) and carbon monoxide alarm (if you have a fixed combustion appliance) every week. If they are missing or do not work, you must contact us and we will fit a new one(s).

Smoke/heat detectors are fitted to all homes. There must be one on each floor. Hallways and stairwells are the most important areas. Some are battery, some are mains, but all should be tested at least once a week and batteries where required they should be changed twice a year.

Carbon Monoxide (Co) alarms must be placed near a source of combustion like a gas boiler/coal fire (Ovens are not included). Carbon monoxide is a colourless, poisonous, odourless, tasteless, flammable gas that is slightly less dense than air, and the sensor will detect the gas before it can cause illness. Common symptoms include headaches, dizziness, sickness, feeling weak, chest and muscle pain and shortness of breath. Co alarms are important for detecting the amount of carbon monoxide in the atmosphere and alerting us with an alarm, so it is important to test them weekly and replace batteries twice a year.


A safer alternative are LED tealights, which you don’t need to remember to blow out. If you must have candles, keep them away from anything flammable like curtains and anything else that can catch fire. Always blow out candles if you are not in the room and especially at night-time if you are going to bed.


Ovens/stoves should not be left unattended when cooking. Keep tea towels and napkins away as these can easily catch fire. A fire safety blanket in the kitchen is an important item to have.

Child safety

To keep you and your family safe at home this winter, never leave lighters and matches within reach of children. Know where fire blankets and extinguishers are in the house and how to use them and know how to quickly exit the house in case of emergency.


Overloading sockets and running extra extension leads should be avoided as it can cause electric faults and fires, and anything rechargeable items should not be charged overnight. Faulty chargers are easy to spot at night. Always keep combustible materials away from chargers, sockets and leads.

Fireplace and chimney

Ensure a fire guard is in place, especially with children playing in the house. You should also consider having your chimney cleaned at least once a year.

Fire extinguisher and blanket

It is a good idea to have a fire extinguisher and blanket in the home and to familiarise yourself with how to use them. Fire extinguishers should be replaced every few years.

Outdoor lights

Ensure that the lights are suitable for the outdoors and do not use them indoors. Outdoor lights are insulated specially for the purpose or being outside and should not be used inside the home.

Smoke outdoors

If you do smoke it’s advisable to do so outside. If you smoke indoors you can extinguish your cigarette it under a running tap or put water in your ashtray to be certain it’s out.

Christmas and New Year fire safety

Christmas tree

If you purchase an artificial Christmas tree this year, be sure it has a CE safety mark and is flame retardant. If you have a real Christmas tree in your home this year remember that it can become a fire hazard, especially once the needles start to dry out.

When buying a real tree, make sure its fresh and the needles aren’t brown as this can be a fire hazard when the needles fall out. It is recommended to only keep a real tree for around four weeks, and while its up, keep it in a pot and continue to water it. Keep the tree away from direct heat, especially open fires, or stoves.

Check that the tree lights are all working okay and always turn off the lights before going to bed and when leaving the house. When Christmas is over, dispose of the tree as soon as possible.


We all like decorating our homes with Christmas decorations, but always take care that they are not potential fire hazards. Like a Christmas tree, do not hang decorations near direct sources of heat such as an open fire or stove, or near naked flames such as candles. If your decorations have lights on them, always make sure they are working correctly. Turn them off when you are not at home or when you go to bed.

New Year’s Eve fireworks

Ringing in the New Year with fireworks in the garden might sound like a good idea but fireworks are illegal in Ireland and can be very dangerous causing serious injury. The only fireworks that can be purchased by the general public are category one or low hazard fireworks, examples of which include party poppers, Christmas crackers and some sparklers.

Last updated: Wed 14th February, 2024 @ 16:22