Stay Fire Safe This Holiday Season
Keep your holidays merry and bright by making fire safety a priority during this festive season. During the holidays, many people overload electrical circuits to accommodate holiday lighting, decorations and cooking appliances, unknowingly increasing the potential for electrical fires and outages. Since 25 percent of Christmas tree fires are caused by electrical problems, always follow this checklist:
- Water your Christmas tree every single day as dry needles can ignite quickly.
- Inspect lights first before plugging them in. Throw away any frayed, kinked or worn light strands.
- Never overload a circuit. Plug light strands into separate power sources. Always unplug them before you go to bed and when you leave the house.
- Don’t use cheap or worn out extension cords.
Candles may provide a festive ambiance and delightful fragrance, but they’re also responsible for starting two out of every five home structure fires each year. Consider these additional fire safety tips this season when it comes to flames and heating:
- Consider using flameless candles. If you choose to burn candles, never leave them unattended.
- Be smart about fires in your fireplace. Use a fire screen to protect your family from dangerous embers that can ignite nearby objects.
- Space heaters should only be used as temporary heating and never used with an extension cord.
- You can never have enough smoke alarms. They should be placed in each bedroom, in the halls adjacent to the bedrooms and on every level of the home, including the basement. If you have a home that has natural gas or liquid propane gas, you should have carbon monoxide detectors. They should be located in the hallway adjacent to bedrooms and on each level of the home.
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, the number of dryer fires increases in winter months and peaks in January. Your fire department makes the following recommendations for dryer safety during the holidays:
- Empty the lint screen before every load.
- Remove snow from the outside opening to the dryer vent.
- Clean your dryer and vent line annually.
- Don’t overload the dryer. Dry small loads, especially when drying coats and blankets.
- Don’t set it and forget it. Never, ever, run your dryer while you’re asleep or away from home.
- Keep the area around the dryer clean.
Following these safety tips during the holiday season, and all year long, will help keep your home safe from common fire hazards. Fire prevention is a neighborhood effort, so be sure to pass these tips along.