According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA.org), winter is the most prevalent season for house fires. Knowing the facts and implementing safety tips can make the holidays safer for friends and family.
More than one-third of home Christmas tree fires start in the living room, family room, or den. Roughly three-quarters of accidents and injuries result from fires started in these areas. The top three days for home candle fires are Christmas, New Year’s Day and New Year’s Eve.
Here are a few tips to prevent seasonal fires:
Trees: Water holiday trees often, ensure there are no faulty lights, and keep the trees away from heat sources like fireplaces and space heaters. A dry tree catches fire much faster than one that is watered regularly. Consider a fire-resistant artificial tree instead of a live tree.
Holiday Lights: Check for melted or damaged wires/plugs on holiday light strands and turn all lights off while away from home.
Cooking: Turn pot handles inwards to prevent accidents in the kitchen. Avoid wearing loose clothing, which can ignite easily. Don’t store items on the stove. The leading cause of home structure fires is from cooking and accounts for two out of every five house fires. Designate the kitchen as a kid-free zone especially during the holidays.
Fireplace: Hanging stockings in front of the fireplace is a common practice. Be sure stockings are hung elsewhere while the fireplace is in use. Fireplace screens or glass doors are good investments, especially when children are in the house.
Candles: Keep candles out of the reach of children and blow each candle out before exiting home. Electrical candles are great alternatives and give a similar effect.
Fire Escape Plan: Know escape routes and practice with family members. Purchase fire extinguishers for every floor of the home and test smoke detectors.
Emergency Preparedness Kit: Keep contact numbers handy for first responders, doctors and insurance carriers.