During this, the most wonderful time of the year, holidays bring families and friends together for festive celebrations and bountiful feasts. Sadly, it is also the time of year when residential fires are much more common. So while you and your loved ones are decking the halls and making merry, keep an eye to fire prevention this holiday season by following these simple tips.
Christmas tree Safety Tips
While Christmas tree fires are not all that common, they are one of the most deadly of all holiday fires. A dry tree is one of the biggest risks your home will likely face this holiday season. In less than 30 seconds, a dry tree can engulf an entire room in flames. Remember, pine trees are used to make turpentine, so when a dried out tree catches fire, it is almost explosive. Keep your home safe from Christmas tree fires by following these tips:
- Be sure your tree is fresh by buying a tree with green needles that do not fall off when touched.
- Before placing the tree in your stand, cut 2 inches off the trunk, leaving a 45 degree angle to allow for better water absorption.
- Water daily. Never, ever allow the water basin to run dry.
- Keep the tree at least 3 feet away from any heating source, including radiators, fireplaces, and heating vents.
- As soon as the tree begins drying out, remove it from the home. A dry tree standing in your home acts like kindling for the rest of your house and will cause the rest of the home to burn within minutes should it catch fire.
Lighting Safety Tips
One in four of all holiday fires is caused by an electrical problem, which is typically caused by malfunctioning decorative lights. Today’s twinkling strands of merrily colored lights are much safer than the wax candles with actual open flames previously used to decorate trees, but they are still wires through which a live electrical current is traveling. Taking care and following these guidelines will keep your lights twinkling and your home safe this holiday season:
- Carefully inspect light strands and discard any with frayed or cracked wires or broken or loose sockets.
- Only use UL-rated lights and extension cords, paying careful attention to the intended use for the lights you’ve purchased. Some are rated for only indoor or outdoor use, not both.
- Don’t run more than three stands of lights end-to-end. Instead, stack the plugs into an extension cord.
- When hanging lights outside your home, test outdoor outlets to be sure the ground fault interrupters don’t trip the circuit breaker. If they do, it’s a sign of a problem and a potential risk for an electrical fire.
- Instead of using nails or staples, use UL-rated clips or hangers for hanging lights outside, and be sure to take the lights down after no more than 3 months. Lights left up year-round can be chewed on by your neighborhood furry friends or damaged by the weather.
Candle Safety Tips
Fire safety issues associated with candles often present a risk throughout the entire year, but fires caused by decorative candles see a significant increase during the holidays, with candle fires occurrences being four times higher than any other time of the year. In fact, the top three days of the entire year for home candle fires are Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day. More than 1/3 of all home decoration fires are caused by candles. Exercise caution when using candles in your home by following these safety tips all year long, but especially during the holidays:
- Keep candles, including “untippable” candles with a wide base, at least 12 inches away from anything that can burn.
- Place candles on sturdy bases, even covering with hurricane globes, to prevent tipping and a wandering flame, caused by a breeze, from jumping to any flammable surface.
- Keep candles away from the reach of children and animals who may inadvertently tip them over.
- Never, ever leave candles unattended. Before bed, walk through each room to double check that all flames have been extinguished.
- Consider switching to flameless LED candles, which can look and smell like their open-flame counterparts, to allow yourself worry-free candle usage.
Holiday Cooking Safety Tips
It may be surprising to learn that cooking fires are the most common holiday fires. More often than not, unattended food on the stove in the kitchen is the most common culprit. Stay safe this season enjoying the decadent delights the holidays provide by following these kitchen safety tips:
- It’s easy to become distracted during holiday gatherings and wander away from food cooking on the stove. If you must leave the kitchen while food is cooking, be mindful of what’s cooking by bringing along a pot holder or some other kitchen utensil that will remind you of the unattended food in the kitchen.
- Keep things that burn away from fire sources. This includes kitchen towels, pot holders, food packaging as well as fat sources, like oil, butter, and grease.
- Keep a fully-charged kitchen fire extinguisher rated for all types of fires, including grease, in an easily accessible location in the kitchen (often under the sink).
- Check to make sure all smoke detectors are working and be sure to replace their batteries at least once a year.
- If you’re planning on deep-frying your turkey (or any other large piece of fully thawed meat), do it outside, on a flat, level surface that is no less than 10 feet away from the House.
Stay safe this holiday season by following these fire prevention tips. We at LM Companies LLC, wish you and your loved ones a blessed holiday season and hope you will contact us with any current or future home restoration needs.