Holiday Home Fire Safety Tips
Decorate and entertain during the holiday season with caution and keep safety in mind. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, during Thanksgiving approximately 2,000 house fires happen with 69 percent of the fires caused by cooking. During the holidays, an estimated 128,700 fires and 1,650 injuries, along with 415 deaths occur with close to $25.5 million in property damage.
Review the following tips to make the holidays safe for you and your family.
Holiday Decorations: Be aware of toxic decorations which may be poisonous. Use non-combustible, flame-resistant materials. Never use lighted candles on a tree, evergreens or other flammable materials.
Lights: Check for loose connections, broken or cracked sockets or frayed wires. Use UL approved lighting. Fasten lights to the tree and prevent bulbs from coming in contact with the needles or branches. Turn off all holiday lights when leaving home or retiring for the evening.
Trees: Be sure a natural tree is fresh and less likely to become a fire hazard. Cut two inches off the trunk and place in a sturdy water stand, water daily. Keep the tree away from fireplaces, wall furnaces and other heat sources. Use 'fire resistant' artificial trees.
Portable space heaters: Place space heaters at least three feet away from anything combustible and operate only when you are in the room. Never leave a space heater on overnight or near children and pets.
Cooking: Avoid wearing loose clothing which can be ignited by hot burners. Turn pot handles in. Don't store items on top of the stove, they can catch on fire. Turn off kitchen appliances after use. Turkey fryers should be used outdoors and away from buildings and flammable materials.
Fire Escape Plan: Know your escape routes. Have a working fire extinguisher in the kitchen, laundry room, and garage. Never burn greens, papers, or other decorations in the fireplace. Working smoke alarms should be installed on every level of your home, test them monthly, replace batteries every six months.
Know who to call in case of an emergency: Keep contact numbers handy for the police and fire departments, doctors and the national poison help line. In case of emergency property damage, contact a licensed, professional fire damage clean up and restoration company.