Christmas, the season of cookies, candles, ham and Christmas tree needles! In between writing the Christmas cards, planning the Christmas dinner and everything else that goes with the festivities, it’s worth sparing a few thoughts for safety. For instance, what to do if there is a power cut, whether it’s at Christmas or any other time?
Better be safe than sorry, also during Christmas
Now is an excellent time to check that your smoke alarms operate properly. To do so, simply press the test button. You should also have a fire blanket handy. Are you sure everyone in the family knows where it is kept and how it is used?
Unpleasant situations usually come without warning, and the whole family should consider in advance how to act in an emergency, such as a fire.
Careful with candles
Candles and tea lights should be placed so that a fire would not be able to spread. You must never leave an open flame without supervision, or leave any children or pets alone where there is an open flame. Outdoor fires may not be burned on the balconies of blocks of flats, or on porches or under canopies. They must always be in the yard, far enough from buildings.
Christmas lights on the balcony, on the other hand, can bring joy. However, before you install them, make sure that the bulbs and cord are intact – faulty lights should not be used, as they can result in an electric shock or cause a fire.
Outdoors, you should only use Christmas lights and cords designed for outdoor use. Do not overload extensions.
Broken Christmas lights, like other electrical equipment, should be responsibly disposed of as SER-waste.
For safety reasons, you are not allowed to have lights or Christmas trees in the stairwells of blocks of flats, but small door decorations and wreaths are fine and create a nice Christmas feeling.
A Christmas sauna is a must for many families. You should nevertheless remember that a hot sauna is not the right place for drying towels and the laundry. A piece of fabric falling on the stove may catch fire.
Ham fat into fuel
You should never pour ham fat down the drain, because as it sets it can cause a blockage.
You should allow the fat to cool on the oven pan or a used milk carton. The fat can then be disposed as biowaste – or recycled! The Kinkkutemppu campaign will be collecting ham fat again this year for the manufacture of diesel fuel.
On Christmas Eve, the waste collection points of housing companies are often bursting with stuff. You should therefore pay particular attention to get your waste in as compact form as possible. Gift wrapping has special coating and often also tape, making them mixed waste.
Housing companies usually have a collection point for Christmas trees to be taken away either by the housing company or the local waste collection company, and chipped and recovered. Plastic Christmas trees that have become worn out should be disposed of in mixed waste – remember to separately dispose of any metal parts in the metal waste.
And what if there is a power cut?
You should have battery-operated torches in at least a few good places at home. They need to be easy to find if there is a power cut in the night. A headlamp is handy, as it leaves both hands free. Candles can also be used but remember to place them safely. Also remember to get matches and spare batteries.
With a battery or wind-up radio, you can listen to the news or any instructions.
Power banks for charging your mobile phones are also handy – remember to keep them fully charged. You should also have some cash in your home.
If there is a power cut, switch off any household appliances, such as the oven, cooker, iron, coffee maker and sauna stove. This way they will not be left on for the night, or without supervision if you need to leave the house before the power comes back on. The water tap of the washing machine should also be turned off.
If advance notice of power cuts have been has been given, avoid using the lift at those times. Lifts will also stop working if there is a power cut.
If a power cut occurs when it’s cold, you should draw the curtains to help keep the heat inside.
If possible, consider which rooms are the most important to keep warm, and close the doors to other rooms. This way you do not have to keep the entire house or flat warm. If the power cut is longer, everyone should sleep in the same room.
Avoid opening the freezer or fridge during a power cut. If the power cut lasts longer, make sure that any water leaking from the freezer do not cause any extra damage.
Water may also be cut off during a power cut. Avoid using the toilet, because you may be able to flush it only once. You can place a plastic bag in the toilet bowl, or buy a separate plastic bucket in case of power cuts. The plastic bag with its contents is disposed with mixed waste.
You can manage fine without water for a few hours, but should the power cut last longer than that, it is good to have a couple of litres per person per day in store. Remember also hygiene and cooking. For cleaning, you can buy wet wipes.
You should also have food for a day or two in your home. Choose foods that do not have to be prepared on the cooker.
Power cuts are usually short, causing rather little inconvenience. However, you should be somehow prepared for them. This way, you will be calm and know what to do, whether the result for the power cut is a storm or a something that’s been informed about in advance.
Lakea wishes you a merry and safe Christmas!
Pelastustoimi.fi – plan and be prepared in case of fire
72hours.fi – how to prepare for power cuts and other difficulties
Spek.fi – The Finnish National Rescue Association – safe living