Donegal County Council have urged people to stay safe this Christmas and take special care with their Christmas decorations to prevent fire-related tragedies.

As part of their campaign, they have shared videos of trees going up in flames in alarmingly short spaces of time. An entire room is engulfed in fire within two minutes.

Between Christmas Trees, lights and candles, we add many extra decorations to our homes which can be dangerous if not used or placed correctly. Here are some guidelines from Donegal County Council to follow this Christmas.

Christmas Trees

  • Place real Christmas trees securely in a sturdy base filled with water – metal stands cause trees to dry out and become flammable.
  • Check water level daily
  • Ensure artificial trees have been pre-treated to increase flame resistance
  • Keep tree away from candles, heaters, fireplaces or other heat sources
  • Dispose of tree properly – never burn a real tree in the fireplace

Christmas Lights


  • Only buy Christmas lights marked with a safety standard
  • Make sure a competent person checks all connections and examines the wiring for fraying
  • If in doubt, throw them out.
  • Don’t overload sockets
  • Unplug all Christmas lights and electrical appliances before leaving your home or going to bed


  • Ensure lights are suitable for outdoor use
  • Check all wiring and follow manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Fasten the bulbs securely and point the sockets down to avoid moisture building up.
  • Never use indoor extension leads outside.
  • Keep outdoor electrical connections above ground and out of puddles and snow.
  • Ensure trees hung with Christmas lights are not touching power lines


  • Keep them out of reach of children and pets
  • Trim the wick to 6mm (1/4 inch) each time before burning
  • Always use an appropriate candleholder placed on a stable, heat-resistant surface
  • Keep burning candles away from drafts, vents and air currents
  • Extinguish a candle if it smokes or flickers repeatedly or if the flame becomes too high
  • Keep the wax pool free of wick trimmings, matches and debris at all times
  • Do not burn a candle for longer than manufacturer recommends
  • Extinguish the flame if it comes too close to the holder or container
  • Place lighted candles at least 75mm apart from one another
  • Never place a candle on top of a TV set and keep well away from curtains
  • Always extinguish candles before leaving the house or going to bed
  • Never use candles on Christmas trees, even artificial ones
  • Remember hot wax burns!

Other Christmas Fire Safety Tips

  • Never burn wrapping paper in your fireplace
  • Keep strings of Christmas cards away from candles and open fires
  • Fit a spark guard in front of open fires
  • Extinguish cigarettes properly and do not let ashtrays get overfilled
  • Check that your smoke alarms are in perfect working order
  • Never remove batteries from smoke alarm to use in children’s toys
  • Clean out the oven and stove prior to Christmas

For more information, visit Donegal County Council