Holiday Fire Prevention Tips
It’s the holidays and it might be cold outside, but inside, the fire’s roaring, a feast is cooking and the lights are twinkling on the tree. It’s a time to relax and forget your worries, but one thing we can’t forget on this big day, is fire safety.
Many festive traditions may actually be adding an extra hazard to our homes. We investigated some of the fire hazards you may come across over the holidays, and provided tips on how to avoid them.
Lights on the tree are a common festive ritual, but they also pose a risk. According to the NFPA (National Fire Prevention Agency), 35% of tree fires over the festive period are because of lighting and electrics. To avoid any potential hazards:
1. Inspect lights for any broken sockets or frayed wires and discard any damaged goods
2. Check to see if lights are made for external or internal use (green tag=indoor, red tag=outdoor). Make sure you use insulated holders for external lights as nails and tacks can cause damage.
3. Take down outdoor lights after 90 days to avoid damage from weather or animals.
The centrepiece of the holiday season – nothing compares to the smell of fresh pine needles. However, fires involving trees cost the US $16.2 million in property damage each year, so you should consider a few precautions while it’s up:
1. Make sure the tree is at least 3 feet away from open flames and fires, as well as radiators and heat vents to avoid needles becoming dry and a potential fire hazard.
2. Water your tree every day. Or, if it’s artificial, make sure it’s flame retardant.
3. Unplug decorative lighting before going to bed or leaving the house.
Often displayed or given as gifts during celebrations, the NFPA found that the top three days for home candle fires were Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, and Christmas Eve. To make sure you don’t become part of the statistics:
1. Never leave a room with candles unattended, blow them out before you leave.
2. Trim candle wicks to a ¼ inch length at all times. This keeps their burn clean.
3. Keep the wax pool free of flammable debris, including matches or wick trimmings.
Christmas Day comes second only to Thanksgiving as the most common day for house fires involving cooking. So, while you’re basting the turkey, keep an eye on the following:
1. Don’t leave food cooking on a stovetop unattended, especially if it involves oil.
2. Keep decorations in the kitchen to a minimum and far away from naked flames. Keep surfaces tidy and free from flammable towels and oven mitts.
3. Turn off all stovetops and ovens after use. And remember to take the turkey out!
While you’re enjoying your holiday celebrations this year, just remember to be vigilant. For more information on fire prevention and data, see the US Fire Administration.