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Silly season a safety risk for home owners

29 November 2017

With the festive season just around the corner, Suncorp is encouraging residents to embrace the silly season safely after new research revealed a significant 80 per cent increase in electrical and barbecue fires, and theft claims in December.

According to Suncorp’s claims data, more than a quarter of all claims in 2016 relating to electrical faults, barbecue fires or explosions, and holiday theft, occurred during December or January.

Suncorp spokesperson, Michael Mills, said it was critical for families, embracing the seasonal festivities, to be mindful of the potential safety risks and ensure they have appropriate measures in place.  

“The holiday season is a great time of year to relax with family and friends, but it’s important not to get swept up in the holiday cheer and overlook potential safety hazards,” Mr Mills said.

“Electrical faults are a key contributor to home fires, especially now when air-conditioning units are on overdrive in summer and families are decorating their homes with Christmas lights.

“It’s important to ensure any electrical decorations and lights are in good working order and are installed correctly – especially after being stored away for the past 11 months.

“Lights generate heat, so don’t leave them near flammable items like wrapping paper and never use indoor lights outside.” 

Last year alone, Suncorp received more than 1,100 claims relating to barbecue fires or explosions, 20 per cent of which occurred in December or January.

“A family barbecue is a quintessential summer tradition, but it’s important not to become complacent and follow safety precautions like checking the gas bottle for leaks and not leaving it unattended,” Mr Mills said.  

“We also see a significant increase in claims relating to theft at this time of year, with claims doubling in January.

“While holiday excitement is understandably top of mind for people heading away for the summer, we strongly encourage residents to put measures in place to ensure their property and possessions remain safe and secure.”

Top tips for the Christmas enthusiast 

  • Check all your lights and electrical decorations before switching them on – 11 months is a long time to be in storage.
  • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and use Australian Standards-compliant Christmas lights.  
  • While they look lovely, always remember to turn them off before going to bed or leaving the house. 

Top tips for the barbecue extraordinaire

  • Check the hose and nozzle of the barbecue and make sure it’s not leaking. If you’re not sure, spray it with soapy water. If it bubbles when you turn the nozzle on, it’s leaking.
  • Avoid leaving the gas on for too long before igniting and do not leave your cooking unattended. 
  • Buy a fire blanket and fire extinguisher, and have them easily accessible from your kitchen and barbecue area. 
  • Do not put water on a fat fire. Water can rapidly spread the fire and lead to serious injuries and property damage

Top tips for the passionate traveller 

  • Ask your friends or neighbours to keep an eye on your property and collect your mail while you’re away – a pile up of junk mail typically indicates no-one is home. 
  • Be mindful of how you promote your travel plans on social media – sharing destinations aren’t always full proof, so review your level of privacy before you post. 
  • Put your valuables in a safe or out of sight.

Media Contact: Ashleigh Paterson 0407 925 665

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