Tips for Preventing Home Fire Hazards During the Holiday Season

Christmas tree catching on fire

The holidays are headed our way, and many would agree that it’s often one of the best times of the year. It’s also when people rummage through their garage, basement, or attic for all the decorations – the lights, the tree, the candles, the festive home décor full of all those cheerful colors. Many homes transform into bright holiday “beacons” and as wonderful as this may be, it’s also a time to be sure you decorate with caution. According to the National Fire Protection Association, the winter months of December, January and February have a much higher percentage of home fires than the other nine months of the year. In fact, 30% of fires happen during this time and 38% of those result in fatalities. The holidays are magical and it’s a time for families and friends to get together and share their gratitude for one another. Taking proper precautions will inevitably lead to a happier and safer holiday experience for your family. Here are some preventative tips for you this holiday season:

How to avoid fire hazards when cooking in the kitchen

Food tends to get even tastier during the holidays as grandma pulls out her famous recipes. Traditional meals and desserts once again grace our tables causing taste buds to burst and unfortunately our waistbands to expand. Families come together and enjoy conversation over delicious meals, so be mindful of kitchen fire dangers with all that holiday cooking. When you have a house full of guests it’s easy to get distracted and walk away from the stove or forget that something is in the oven. As you begin to prepare your meals, remember these important tips which will certainly help prevent your holiday from “going up in flames”.

  • NEVER EVER walk away from the stovetop while in the middle of cooking something.
  • Keep everything flammable far away from the oven and hot stove. Be aware of where you place kitchen towels, oven mitts, grocery bags and even electrical appliances. Anything you use that deals with electricity and heat… use caution.
  • Have fire safety equipment readily available. Keep a fire extinguisher close by and baking soda available for grease fires. Clean up any grease spills and have working batteries in your kitchen smoke alarm.

How to avoid household fires when lighting candles

Candles offer warmth and meaning during the holiday season and tend to be in high demand at this time of year. Yet, when lit, candles can lead to higher than average risk of house fires. Candle fires account for a hefty percentage of holiday house fires. So, while wonderful, fragrant and mood-enhancing, candles do pose as a danger. Here are a couple of important rules of thumb when it comes to lighting candles in the home:

  • Keep anything flammable about a foot away, check for adequate distance when determining where to place your candle.
  • Set the candle on a sturdy foundation and never leave flames unattended. If you leave the room, go to bed, or leave the house; remember to blow the candle out.

How to avoid a fire with your Christmas tree

If a tree is part of your holiday celebrations, setting it up and decorating it with everyone’s favorite ornament can be a huge highlight of the holiday season. Unfortunately, the tree can be the most flammable thing in the home, especially if it’s real and you forget to water it. A dry tree can be engulfed in flames in a mere 30 seconds. To reduce this risk, make sure the tree you buy is fresh cut on the trunk and it’s watered daily. The risk goes down tremendously when a tree is well watered as it becomes much harder to ignite. Artificial trees are not quite as hazardous, but make sure its flame-resistant and you are careful with the type of lights you use and where you place them.

  • Keep your real tree watered!
  • Do not place your real tree right next to heat sources, such as a fireplace or radiator. Also, live greenery needs to be at least three feet away from any heat source.

Tips to avoid a fire with decorative lights

Holiday lights brighten the entire inside and outside of a home. It’s certainly the “Oooh, Awww” factor of the holiday season. Walking through a neighborhood that’s lit up with festive lights can be a highlight to many. However, once again, they can certainly pose some unique threats.

  • When hanging lights check to see everything is in well working order. Any lights that are frayed, have cracked wires or broken sockets throw them out.
  • Don’t connect more than three strands of lights end to end at a time.
  • Double check power cords and cables, replace if needed.
  • When hanging lights outside don’t use nails or staples instead use an alternate
    way of hanging them up that won’t damage the wiring, such as clips or hangers.
  • Once the holidays are over take the lights down because if they are up all year-round small animals or weather can cause damage.

How to avoid household fires caused by your fireplace

If your home has a fireplace, we’re sure it adds to the coziness of the winter months, especially for the holidays. For many, the fireplace becomes the centerpiece of the home whether it’s decorated with garland and stockings or not. It is, however, another heat source that can pose as a danger. Therefore, remember your basic fire safety and take the appropriate precautions.

  • Before the season begins have your chimney inspected and cleaned.
  • Test fire and carbon monoxide detectors and make sure your home is up on its safety prevention systems.
  • If you have an alternate heat source such as a space heater turn it off when you leave the room.

The holidays are a wonderful and a truly special time for so many so please be sure to take the necessary precautions in order to keep your family and home safe. AWR Restoration & Cleaning would like to wish you the happiest of holiday seasons!

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