Fire safety guidance at Christmas

Christmas marketFire safety regulations apply all year round however during the Christmas period the following guidance is a good reminder to help keep all persons safe from fire:

Any Christmas tree lights or other decorations brought into a University of Portsmouth building that has an electrical supply must be subject to a Portable Appliance  Test  (PAT) before use. This should be undertaken by the portable appliance testing regime that is normally used – contact the Health & Safety Office if you have any queries.

Christmas tree lights that are stored on site should be subject to a portable appliance test before they are used. This should be undertaken by the portable appliance testing regime that is normally used.

  • Don’t overload sockets or use daisy chain extension leads. If an extension lead is used, this should also be subject to a portable appliance test before use.
  • Turn Christmas lights off when the area is not being used or out of hours.
  • Do not erect a Christmas tree or decorations near to fire exits, on an escape route corridor or on stairways. Fire alarm call points, fire extinguishers and directional fire exit signage should not be obstructed or obscured by the tree.
  • If you are to use a natural Christmas tree contact the Fire Safety Advisor for further advice.Natural Christmas trees quickly dry out in buildings and can increase the risk in a fire. For the extent of this risk view this video.
  • Do not place decorations in protected escape routes like corridors and stair lobbies.
  • Decorations should not be used in high risk areas like laboratories and workshops with a heat source.
  • Do not place decorations, i.e. Christmas cards/tinsel etc. near to heat sources such as light fittings, heaters and electrical equipment.
  • Do not obstruct cooling fans on computers or printers with decorations or cards.
  • Decorations must not obscure the fire safety signage – like directional fire exit signage.
  • No candles or other naked flame sources are to be used under any circumstances.
  • Be aware of manual handling and working at height risks when decorating offices.

If you require any more information please contact the Health & Safety Office Fire Safety Advisor – David Collins, ext 5536 or

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