It’s the hap-happiest time of the year! The winter holidays are in full swing, which means Christmas trees, decorations, crackling fires, candles, and lots of cooking. While this is one of the most joyous times of the year, it’s also the most dangerous.
Keep your household from becoming another holiday fire statistic. Follow these simple tips to ensure a warm and safe holiday season.
It’s essential to have the fireplace inspected once a year by a professional to eliminate threats. Professionals will be able to determine if the chimney needs any repairs and will get rid of creosote and other buildups upon inspection. Once a professional has confirmed the fireplace will operate safely, there are other rules homeowners must follow to eliminate fire hazards.
— Make sure the home has working smoke detectors on EVERY level.
— Get a carbon monoxide alarm, if you don’t already own one.
— Only burn seasoned firewood.
— Don’t place wrapped gifts near the fireplace; the material is highly flammable.
— Do not throw wrapping paper in your fireplace after presents are opened. There are additives in the paper that burn at very high temperatures.
— Have a working fire extinguisher in the home.
— Never dispose of the Christmas tree in the fireplace. The wood has not been seasoned properly and is not safe to burn.
— Make sure any and all decorations on the fireplace are removed once a fire has been lit. According to the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association), 42% of decorations catch fire because they are placed too close to a heat source.
Candle fires are 4x higher during the month of December. The NFPA states that the four most dangerous times of year are Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day. Make sure candles are not near any combustible material and are not placed on the Christmas tree for decoration.
Remember, never dispose of the tree by throwing pieces of it into the fireplace. Christmas trees are a wonderful holiday decoration but if not cared for properly can become a serious hazard.
— Water the tree at least once a day. If the tree becomes dried out if could catch fire from the lights.
— Use proper lights. Certain lights are only for indoor or outdoor use. Check the labels to make sure you’re putting the proper lights on your tree or house.
— Do not use lights that have broken cords, bulbs or electrical wires poking through. This could create a spark and cause the tree to catch fire.
— NEVER use lit candles to add light to the tree.
— Always turn the tree off before leaving the house or going to bed.
— Once Christmas is over, dispose of the tree properly by finding a recycling program or tossing it to the curb for garbage.
Oh, the warm, soothing smell of holiday cooking. Thanksgiving is the peak day for cooking fires, followed by Thanksgiving Eve and Christmas Day. The NFPA states that 19% of cooking equipment was responsible for home decoration fires. This can occur when a decoration is left too close to the stove or other cooking equipment.
When you’re cooking this holiday season make sure:
— You keep an eye on the food to make sure nothing catches fire.
— Do not keep any decorations, oven mitts, candles, and cloth near the stove or oven.
— If you leave the room for a moment, make sure the stove is set to LOW.
— Keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen.
— Make sure you are not wearing any loose materials that could get caught on a stove flame (scarves, hair, loose shirts, etc.)
We wish everyone a wonderful holiday season and a very happy new year. Stay safe, stay warm.