Silly season and safety risks

Brad Buzzard 1 December 2017

fire engine

How to remain carefree without becoming careless.

Ah, the silly season. A time to take a step back from the day-to-day grind, switch off the mental motor, connect with family and friends and celebrate life.

But according to data provided by Suncorp, completely switching off may not be the best idea. Celebrations and travel bring a host of safety and security risks, so it may be prudent to reserve some good sense for the festive times.

The study shows that in 2016, more than a quarter of all claims involving fires, explosions and theft occurred during January and December.

Electrical fires are especially common at this time. Air conditioners are turned up to high, Christmas lights are hauled out of storage in a dodgy condition and there is a profusion of combustible wrapping paper and packaging lying around.

Barbeque fires are also a concern. According to Suncorp, 20% of all claims relating to barbeque fires are made during December and January, due to leaking gas canisters and unattended barbeques.

But it’s not just safety that’s at stake. The holidays are a prime occasion for theft because that’s when thieves know that people will be away from their homes. Suncorp says that the theft claims it receives double every January.

“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 hazards,” Suncorp spokesperson Michael Mills said in a statement.

There are steps homeowners can take to protect their homes and belongings from disaster and theft, such as ensuring all electrical items are in good working order, asking friends or neighbours to check in on your home if you're away and buying a fire blanket and a fire extinguisher for your home.

Having a home insurance policy in place can also go a long way to ensuring peace of mind. Nobody is immune to unexpected accidents.

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Picture: Shutterstock

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