During the busyness of the holiday season, it can be easy to overlook practical steps to avoid accidental fires. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) found that more than one-third of home decoration fires are started by candles and more than two of every five decoration fires happen because decorations are placed too close to a heat source
Keep Your Family Fire-Safe This Holiday Season
Following a few simple tips can help ensure a fire-safe holiday season:
Indoor and outdoor décor
Choose decorations that are flame resistant or flame retardant. Avoid overloading electrical outlets and keep away from snow or standing water. Some lights are indoor or outdoor use only, not both; check to make sure lights are being used appropriately. Check for loose bulbs and hang lights with clips, not nails to avoid cord damage.
Live trees and chimneys
Before bringing a live tree home, it’s essential to choose a fresh tree with green needles and avoid brown needles. Once home, ensure the tree’s reservoir is filled with water so that the tree stump is never dry. Give the tree a good shake, if several needles fall to the ground, this is a sign it’s not getting enough water. A dry live tree can burn faster than newspaper, according to NFPA. Keep trees away from any heat source. Before building a toasty fire, be sure to get the chimney professionally cleaned. Tar and soot can build up and can heighten the chance of a chimney fire if there’s blockage or ventilation issues.
Do not leave stovetops or ovens unattended. Keep flammable items like potholders or dish towels away from the stovetop. Should a small fire ignite in the kitchen, don’t pour water on it, smother the fire with a lid over the pan. If there’s an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the oven door closed.
Keep candles away from decorations and combustible materials, place candles out of reach from children and pets. Plus, be mindful of burn time.
Turn off or unplug all electrical holiday lights and extinguish any open flame. Keep doorways clear and open to ensure paths are not blocked in the case of a fire.