It’s the holiday season, which means more than celebration, winter cheer and twinkling lights – it also happens be the peak time of the year to practice fire safety. As somber as the fact may be, the number of home fires peaks yearly around December and February. In fact, 30% of all home fires and 40% of home deaths take place during the wintertime. The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) is reminding everyone to practice home safety, but what exactly does that mean during an already stressful time of the year? Thankfully, staying informed and taking these few, simple precautions can almost guarantee a foolproof, fireproof holiday season!
Proactive Fire Safety Tips and Maintenance
When you know better, you prevent better. Get in the habit of scheduling annual maintenances and be on the lookout for the potential fire hazards in your home.
- Get your heating system inspected annually by a qualified professional service.
- Have your fireplace inspected by a professional service to see if it needs cleaning before the holidays.
- Make sure there is a working carbon monoxide (CO) alarm installed in your home.
- Throw away or repair any appliance with a damaged cord.
- Keep anything flammable at least 3 feet from heat sources.
Fire Safety Tips for Your Holiday Lights
These beautiful decorations fill our hearts with so much joy, but they can also be dangerous. Try to practice holiday light safety by purchasing your lights from a reputable retailer, and follow these steps to avoid any unwanted mishaps.
- Check all lights for signs of broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections.
- Only use light and extension cords for their specific intended purpose: indoor, outdoor or both.
- Plug outdoor holiday lights into circuits that are protected by Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs).
- Be on the lookout for snow and water and make sure to keep both extension cords and lights clear of moisture.
- Check to make sure cords and light strands are not being pinched by doors, windows or furniture.
- Make sure to turn off holiday lights and electrical decorations before going to sleep or leaving the house.
- Keep yourself and your equipment at least 10 feet away from power lines at all times.
- Be sure not to overload electrical outlets with too many devices. Use the “rule of three” when it comes to power strips, which means no more than three electronic devices should be plugged into a single strip at once.
Space Heater Fire Prevention
Heating equipment causes thousands of home fires and hundreds of deaths each year. Luckily, these simple rules ensure your heater isn’t in danger of becoming a part of that statistic.
- Never leave a working space heater unattended. Make sure to turn it off when leaving the room.
- Never use an extension cord or a power strip with your space heater.
- Always place space heaters on a level surface on the ground.
- Never use a space heater with a damaged cord.
Kitchen Fire Prevention
Cooking is the leading cause of home fires and fire injuries, according to the
ESFI. Here’s how to keep everyone fed and happy, but also safe.
- Never use a cooking stove or an oven to heat your house or dry clothing.
- It may seem tempting, but do not leave the house with food cooking in the oven.
- Never use a damaged slow cooker or one with beat-up wiring.
- Don’t overfill a pan or fryer with too much oil.
- Keep the handles of your pots and pans facing the inside of the stove so they can’t be knocked over.
- Use the ventilation hood to force steam and smoke from cooking out of your home.
Christmas Tree Fire Prevention
Did you know that, between 2012 and 2014, an average of 10 deaths and $15.7 million in property loss were related to Christmas tree fires? Here’s how to keep your tree fresh and decidedly fire-free this season.
- Make sure your live tree is fresh – the bottom of the trunk should be sticky with resin. Also, few needles should fall off if you tap the tree on the ground.
- Keep your tree (live or artificial) away from heat sources such as fireplaces, vents or radiators.
- Check the water level on your live tree and refill the stand as necessary.
- Always place your tree out of the way of foot traffic and ensure it’s not blocking doorways.
- When selecting an artificial tree, always look for the “Fire Resistant” label.
Fire Safety Tips for Your Holiday Candles or Menorahs
Candle fires are most likely to occur on Christmas, New Year’s Day, and New Year’s Eve. Between 2012 and 2014, an average of 10 deaths and $42.2 million in property loss occurred as a result of fires related to candles. Here’s how to make sure your favorite scent doesn’t sour the holidays.
- Only burn candles where they are easily visible.
- Make certain to blow out all candles before leaving the room or house.
- Place candles on a heat resistant, flat surface and safely out of reach from kids or house pets.
- Always place candles far from flammable items such as trees, decorations, curtains and furniture.
- If an adult in your household suffers from Alzheimer’s, flameless candles offer a safer alternative.
Fireplace Fire Safety
They offer the whole family a cozy spot to gather around, but fireplaces can an obvious source of danger when it comes to fire safety. Here’s how to ensure your fire stays in its place.
- Have your fireplace inspected and professionally cleaned (if needed) before the holiday season.
- Always keep a screen in front of the fireplace to prevent embers from escaping.
- Never throw wrapping paper in your fireplace to avoid creating too much heat that can result in a chimney fire.
- Used only seasoned wood.
Create a Fire Escape Plan
Having a strategy can save lives. Unfortunately, home fires are more common and deadly during the holiday season. In case of an emergency, your family needs to have a definite plan.
- Identify all exits in your house.
- Have your family create a plan and discuss in detail what each individual should do in case of a fire emergency.
- Practice the escape plan.
- Select a designated meeting place outside of the home.
- Assign “buddies” to younger children to ensure they have a responsible companion.
Nobody needs the added stress of mishaps around this season, so whatever holiday you are celebrating, we hope these tips get you ready for safe and accident-free festivities. Talk to your loved ones, especially seniors and children, to make sure they also understand the importance of fire safety – especially during this time of year.
In the event you have an unfortunate fire at your home or business, contact our fire restoration experts today for a free quote.
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