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Festive Decorations

Following discussions with University Insurers it is felt prudent to issue basic guidance on the use of festive decorations and provide an environment where festive celebrations may be enjoyed safely.

Real Christmas Trees

Real Christmas trees are permitted but a few simple precautions must be followed,

  • The bottom one inch (2.5cm) must be cut from the base of the tree trunk, the Christmas tree should then be located in a stand with integral water container, which is full of water, rather than just a stand. This will allow the tree to be watered, slowing down the drying out experienced with real Christmas trees
    (A newly cut Christmas tree of about 8 ft. (2.4m) can absorb up to half a litre of water per day).
  • Real Christmas trees should be pre-treated with a proprietary fire resistant spray and should come with a certificate to prove this. Alternatively trees may be treated with a fire resistant spray, which must be used according to manufactures instructions and usually outside in a well ventilated area. Any supplied certificates must be sent to the Fire Safety Officer for filing (D36 Richmond Building).

Please note, real Christmas trees are not permitted in halls of residence.

Fibre Optic Trees

This type of tree has a powerful lamp in its base unit and these lamps get very hot. DO NOT cover the base with cotton wool or other decorative material as the unit could overheat and catch fire.

Decorative Lights 

Decorative lights must be used in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions and recommendations. As with all portable electrical items these lights MUST be PAT tested before use, this in effect means that they have to be tested on an annual basis. If new lights are required they should be purchased from a reputable supplier and visually inspected before they are brought into use.

Lights must be switched off at the end of the working day or when not in use.


All decorations including tinsel, baubles or similar that are used for display or adorning purposes must be flame retardant.


  • Corridors, these are circulation areas and generally form part of the escape route and should be kept clear.
  • Staircases, these are sterile areas and must be kept clear.
  • Offices, small trees/festive displays can be erected in offices, but the above guidance must be followed with regard to decorating them.
  • Fire Exits, these must be kept clear and not obstructed.
  • Trees and festive decorations must be kept away from heat sources.
  • Do not obstruct cooling fans on computers with decorations or cards.

Have a safe and happy festive season.