Holiday Fire Safety Tips: Part 1
The Fall and Winter holidays are a festive time of year. The weather has cooled, if only slightly, and the season of celebration begins. It’s a time of year to bring out the decorations, indoor and outdoor and invite friends and family over to celebrate with holiday cheer.
With the nature of the festivities of this season, many homes are widely adorned with lights and trees, candles and decorations inside and out. And with the colder, festive months come a heightened level of unique dangers to most homes. A higher percentage of residential fires happen in the colder Fall and Winter months. Primarily caused by heating, electrical malfunctions and unsafe, unattended cooking indoors and outdoors. And while all of these hazards can happen anytime of year, they certainly seem to happen more frequently during the holidays and nothing will take the joy out of your holidays quite like a home accident or a house fire.
Regardless of what you celebrate or how you celebrate those special moments, please take the following steps and precautions into consideration this time of year:
- Indoor decorations:
- Holiday Lights – All lighting should be tested for strong wiring. Annual testing of all light strands and cords for frayed or exposed, decaying sections. Any damaged wires or cords should be replaced prior to use. Use clips instead of nails to hang indoor lights. A nail is easy to puncture a wire and will in turn leave an exposed section.
- Candles – Use real candles sparingly and in elevated, uncluttered spaces. Never leave a burning candle unattended and keep wicks trimmed in between each use. Always exercise extreme caution with burning candles when small children are present.
- Seasonal plants – All plants and trees should be a minimum of three feet away from any heating source, especially a fireplace. Always maintain appropriate water levels so as to not let your trees or plants dry out with increased home heating.
- Christmas tree – As with seasonal plants, always keep your tree a minimum of three feet away from any heating source and pay close attention that the heating vents are not blowing directly onto your tree which will in turn dry it out faster. Keep appropriate water levels constantly monitored and filled. Never under any circumstances put real candles on your tree as a decoration. And at the end of the season when your tree is removed from the home have it disposed of or recycled immediately. Never leave a dry, brittle tree in your yard or garage as it is highly combustible.
- Fireplace– As with candles, never leave a fire in the fireplace burning unattended. Keep all manner of materials and decor a minimum of three feet away from the fireplace. Be aware of stockings hanging directly above a fireplace.
As a homeowner, understanding the elevated risks of this time of year and exercising simple attentive precautions will keep you, your family and friends and your home safe for many festive holiday celebrations to come.