Tips for Homeowners Holiday Safety
There’s nothing quite like the holiday season. It’s a favorite time of year for so many. But it can also be a tragic time when it comes to fire dangers in the home. According to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), household fires happen more frequently, cost more, and claim more lives during the holidays than at any other time of the year.
The Red Cross http://www.redcross.org/ provides some sobering facts:
- Nearly 47,000 fires occur during the winter holidays, claiming more than 500 lives, causing more than 2,200 injuries, and costing $554 million in property damage.
- On average, one of every 22 home fires started by Christmas trees result in death.
- Candle fires are four times as likely to occur during the winter holidays.
- During the winter holiday season, an average of 40 home fires per day are caused by children playing.
Don’t let a careless mistake turn your holiday cheer to tragedy.
Keep your holiday season safe by following this 10-point fire safety checklist:
1) Use caution in the kitchen. Cooking fires are the leading cause of home fires during the holidays. Don’t get distracted and keep potholders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, and other flammables away from your oven and stove. Have a fire extinguisher readily available. Use extreme caution if you’re deep-frying the holiday turkey, doing it outdoors on a level surface at least 10 feet from your house.
2) Check all smoke alarms to make sure they’re working properly. Your home should have several – one on each level of your home, near your kitchen, and near sleeping areas. Test them monthly and replace batteries annually.
3) Keep Christmas trees, candles, and other holiday decorations a minimum of three feet from heat sources such as radiators, fireplaces, heating vents, and candles.
4) Consider buying a flame-retardant metallic or artificial tree. If you prefer the real thing, pick one with fresh, green needles, use a sturdy tip-resistant stand, and keep the tree thoroughly watered.
5) Make sure all holiday lights and other decorations are in good operating condition, never use anything with a damaged electrical cord, and always unplug your tree and holiday lights before going to bed or leaving home.
6) Use candles with care. Keep them away from flammable materials, give them plenty of space, and never use them to decorate a tree. Consider using flameless LED candles as a safer alternative.
7) Take precautions with fireplaces, making certain to keep flammable materials a safe distance away, using a screen to prevent embers from falling onto carpets, and use caution when disposing of ashes.
8) Keep the kids safe by teaching them about fire safety and keeping candles, matches, and lighters out of their reach.
9) Discuss your emergency exit plan in case of a fire, and take time to rehearse it so every family member knows what to do.
10) Take time to review your homeowners’ insurance to make sure you’re adequately covered if the unthinkable should happen.
For more holiday fire safety tips, check out these resources:
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