You’d likely be surprised to know that the happiest time of the year, can also be the most dangerous. In fact, the top three days for home candle fires are Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, and New Year’s Eve. Not only are home fires more common during the holidays, but when they do happen, there is a higher risk of damage and fatality. But the good news is that these types of fires are preventable. Here are a few tips to keep your holidays safe, jolly, and fire restoration free.
According to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), the most common cause of holiday fires is cooking. With all the hustle and bustle, it’s easy to get distracted and leave food unattended. To avoid this, carry a hot pad with you if you walk away from the stove with something on it. This will remind you that you have something cooking. Also, if you’re deep-frying a turkey be smart about it. We’ve all seen the YouTube videos. Fry your turkey outside, on a flat surface, 10-feet from your house or anything else that could catch fire.
Have a fire extinguisher handy in case you do start a cooking fire and make sure all smoke detectors are in working order.
They may look pretty, but decorative lights can cause electrical fires that will have firefighters at your home in a hurry. Prevent this by inspecting your string lights and throw away any with cracked wires or broken sockets. Avoid using nails or staples when hanging lights outside. This can cause damage to the wiring. Also, it’s a good rule-of-thumb to only keep your lights up for 90 days at the most, never leaving them up year round. If you think it’s a lot of work to put lights up and then take them down every year, consider how much work fire restoration would be.
During December, the risk of candle fires is four times higher than any other month. To keep your candles from catching your curtains on fire, keep all candles a foot away from anything flammable. Make sure all candles are blown out before bed and maybe even consider making the transition to LED candles.
Dry pine needles are kindling. In under 30 seconds, your dry Christmas tree can engulf a room in flames. To avoid this, make sure to water your tree every day. A regularly watered tree is almost impossible to ignite, but after four weeks, regardless of your watering habits, your tree will start to dry out. Keep anything flammable, including trees, away from heat sources. Artificial trees don’t pose the same threat, especially those that are flame-retardant.
Don’t burn Christmas tree branches or wrapping paper in your fireplace. Also, before the fireplace season commences, have your chimney inspected and cleaned if necessary. Screen the embers to keep everything inside the fireplace, where it belongs.