The holiday season is a time of joy, laughter, and love. No matter which holiday you and your loved ones celebrate this year, remember that fire safety always comes first. Putting up a Christmas tree, decorating the house, or baking holiday treats are all common activities that can lead to unwanted household fires. Read on for the fire safety tips every homeowner should know.
Christmas Tree Fire Safety Tips
Although Christmas tree fires are not very common, they can cause catastrophic damage when they do occur. There are 200 Christmas tree fires each holiday season. On average, these fires result in six deaths, 16 injuries, and $14.8 million in property damage each year. Jot down these Christmas tree fire safety tips, especially if you prefer a real conifer tree over an artificial one:
- When shopping for a real tree, choose one with fresh, healthy needles. One way to be sure you have selected a healthy tree is to check if the needles fall off easily. If they do, the tree is likely already drying out and poses a greater fire safety risk than a healthier tree.
- Before placing your real tree on the tree stand, cut two inches off the base. Be sure to position the tree at least three feet away from the fireplace, radiator, candles, lamps, and other heat sources. Water the tree every day to keep it from drying out. When real trees become excessively dry, they are more likely to catch fire.
- If you haven’t already, switch to LED bulbs for your Christmas tree lighting. They do not emit heat. Heat-emitting lights can be a fire safety risk. Plus, LED lights will last longer, too.
- Always make sure the smoke detectors in your home are working well and have new batteries in them.
- Consider installing fire protection sprinklers or other services to safeguard against accidental fires.
- Dispose of your conifer tree immediately after the holidays. Do not leave it in your garage or basement for an extended period of time. Most areas offer curbside pickup. Or you can look for a tree recycling center in your area.
Holiday Decoration Fire Safety Tips
According to statistics, US fire departments respond to about 840 home fires each year caused by malfunctioning holiday decorations. These fires cause an average of two deaths, 36 injuries, and $11.4 million in property damage each year. Keep your home and your family safe with these holiday decoration fire safety tips:
- All decorations should be flame-resistant. Whenever possible, opt for LED lighting instead. Keep all decorations at least 12 inches away from the fireplace, open candle flames, and other heat sources.
- Do not use electrical decorations that have damage. This includes light strands, inflatable decorations, and anything else that lights up. Use clips instead of nails, to secure light strands in place. This will help prevent damaging the cord.
- Replace all damaged or very old decorations with new ones. Always look for LED options.
- Ensure all of your smoke detectors are working.
- Consider using timers to automatically shut lights on and off. This can help prevent electrical fires when you are not home.
Candle Fire Safety Tips
About 300 holiday decoration fires, or 36 percent of the total amount reported, are started by burning candles. While candles can have a very soothing and relaxing feel, it is important to keep these fire safety tips in mind throughout the holiday season and the rest of the year.
- Keep matches and lighters out of the reach of children, preferably in a locked cupboard. Keep burning candles away from both children and pets, as well.
- Remember to blow out your candles if you leave the room or go to sleep. If a ceremonial candle must burn continuously, place it in an enclosed glass container and set it in the sink, or a metal tray, or in a deep water-filled basin. Never leave a burning candle unattended on a table or countertop.
- Christmas trees and candles do not mix. Under no circumstances should you leave a burning candle within range of your highly flammable tree.
- Consider switching to flameless candles to prevent fires. This is especially important if you are planning to have many visitors over or have small children and pets around.
Holiday Baking Fire Safety Tips
A huge part of the holiday season involves good food and delicious desserts. While you may love cooking or baking with your loved ones, it is important to be safe at all times. Here are some fire safety tips for holiday chefs:
- When baking with children, never allow them to put things in or remove things from the oven alone.
- Always use a timer when baking. The holidays can be a busy time and it is easy to forget about one task as you begin another. A timer can help prevent fires.
- Do not use very old or damaged appliances or electrical tools in the kitchen.
- Before you begin your holiday prep, ensure all fire safety services around your home are fully functional.
Though holiday fires are not exceptionally common, they can be devastating. Always be sure to have proper fire safety regulations in place to protect you and your loved ones this holiday season and the rest of the year, as well.