Christmas is meant to be full of joy and celebration. But it can also be a time when there’s an increased risk of an electrical fire – from dodgy Christmas lights in the sitting room, to unattended cooking in the kitchen. And with electricity causing three quarters of fires in Scottish homes – with most caused by electrical products – it’s no time to become complacent.

That’s why Ruth Maguire MSP is joining with leading consumer protection charity, Electrical Safety First, to keep constituents electrically safe this Yuletide.

“Christmas is meant to be magical but with extra food, drink and people, we can all forget some of the safety fundamentals”, explains Ms Maguire.

“For example, we all know that the kitchen is the heart of a home – and especially so at Christmas. But it is also the most dangerous room in the house when it comes to electrical accidents. And with the pressures of cooking the traditional Xmas dinner with all the trimmings, along with the fun of friends, family, presents – and the odd glass or two – it’s easy to become distracted, which is when accidents can occur.”

In addition to coming up with some simple seasonal safety tips, Electrical Safety First has also developed an online tool to help people ensure all their Christmas gifts bought online are safe.

“Our research found that a number of dangerous electrical goods – which present a real risk of fire – are being sold by unregulated ‘third-party’ sellers via online marketplaces such as Amazon Marketplace, eBay and Wish”, explains Wayne Mackay, Deputy Public Affairs Manager at Electrical Safety First.

 “But many people think they are buying from the platform itself, which they consider reputable. For example, we found that 44% of people we surveyed didn’t know the difference between Amazon and Amazon Marketplace – and it’s the latter where we are more likely to purchase from a third-party vendor. So we have created an app for Google Chrome – Check it Out – which we hope will provide some clarity to this, by alerting people when they are buying from a third-party seller.”

To install the app, for free, simply go to the Chrome Store and type in Electrical Safety First. It will become active when browsing Amazon Marketplace and eBay. The app is still in the Beta-stage but the Charity is constantly updating and improving it.

Electrical Safety First’s Top Tips for Christmas safety

  • Even Christmas lights need a break – switch them off when you’re not there to enjoy them.
  • Don’t get distracted when you’re cooking Christmas dinner – with half of house fires starting in the kitchen, it’s more than the turkey that’s at risk of burning.
  • Don’t overload sockets and try to avoid the use of extension leads or adaptors.
  • If you’ve got a new electrical gadget for Christmas that needs charging, don’t rely on a cheap, unbranded charger or leave it charging unattended.
  • Make sure you buy your presents and your sale bargains from retailers you trust – remember, if that bargain looks too good to be true, then it probably is!

To help the whole family to have a safe and happy festive season, visit: www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk/christmas