November 20, 2011 19:00 ET

'Tis the Season to Be Vigilant of Christmas Fire Hazards Warns Swinton Commercial

MANCHESTER, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - Nov. 20, 2011) - Swinton Commercial, the UK's leading business insurance broker is warning shop owners to take extra care when putting up Christmas decorations on commercial premises as this can increase the risk of potential fires to a property.

Putting up Christmas decorations is one way to attract the festive Christmas trade, but a thorough health and safety check must be adhered to beforehand in order to minimise any fire or injury risks.

Fairy lights can be one of the main culprits for causing fires, often due to careless mistakes such as overloading extension leads or leaving them plugged in 24hrs per day – anything electrical is prone to heat up, and where there's heat, there's generally fire.

Shop owners should ensure they take out sufficient shop insurance to protect against any fire or electrical damages that may occur. Additional policies such as public liability insurance will also cover any business owner against claims made by members of the public should they incur any injury such as tripping on fairy light wires or extension leads, or banging their head on a Christmas decoration.

Swinton Commercial has listed its top tips for shop owners to avoid any festive fury this Christmas:

  • Do not overload extension leads – this can result in plugs overheating, bursting into flames and can trip electrical circuits within a property

  • Don't keep extension leads under rugs – they may heat up and cause a fire

  • Remember - indoor decorations are for indoor use only, and outdoor for outdoor only

  • Inspect lights and decorations before attaching to a tree, window, table, wall or ceiling to ensure they are safe to put up

  • Do not place any electrical decorations near water or wet surfaces

  • When replacing bulbs on fairy lights, make sure that the replacement bulb used is the correct wattage

  • Always unplug fairy lights at close of business

  • Most importantly – make sure your property is fitted with working smoke alarms.

Jolene Shaw, Technical Referral Advisor at Swinton Commercial, said: "Christmas is a key period for businesses with the run up to December 25th being one of the busiest periods in the retail calendar. That's why it's so important to take extra care when putting up Christmas decorations. Not only can a fire cause fatal accidents, it can also damage stock and property and has the potential to leave a serious dent in business profits which some businesses may never be able to recover from."

About Swinton Commercial:

As the UK's fastest-growing commercial insurance broker, Swinton Commercial has the expertise and industry knowledge to provide you with highly competitive business insurance that's tailored to your needs.

With 34 branches across the UK, including 19 regional centres, Swinton Commercial has quickly established itself as the UK's local broker, offering a dedicated team of advisors with specialist industry knowledge in all sectors.

Your local Commercial Account Executive has an in-depth understanding of the insurance market in your area and will arrange a face-to-face appointment with you, taking the time to thoroughly understand your business and its specific requirements.

We cater for most types of business - from small start-ups to well-established organisations, comparing quotes from leading UK insurers to find you the right level of insurance, at the right price.

What's more, our award-winning offering has over 75,000 business customers - and we're growing fast.

Visit http://www.swintoncommercial.co.uk for more information or call 0800 995 1800.

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