Holidays Safety Tips
Winter holidays are a time for joy, peace and happiness. Unfortunately, decorations for special events, most often involving candles, account for an average of 800 home fires in the US, and causing nearly $4 million in direct property damage, annually, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Take these simple steps to ensure a happy and fire-safe holiday season:
- Use holiday decorations that are flame flame-resistant or flame flame-retardant.
- Use battery-operated candles and, if you use real candles, exercise extreme caution. Make sure children are watched at all times when candles are lit. NFPA states that two of every five holiday fires are started by candles.
- Keep matches and lighters in a locked cabinet out of children’s reach.
- When indoors, keep candles away from curtains, decorations and other combustibles. NFPA states that nearly half of holiday decoration fires happen because decorations are placed too close to a heat source.
- When indoors or outside, use only lights that have been tested for safety by a recognized testing laboratory. Use clips, not nails, to hang lights so the cords do not get damaged.
- Check each set of lights, new or old, for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections and discard damaged sets. Connect no more than three strands of mini light sets per outlet.
- Always remember to keep exits clear of decorations, so nothing blocks escape routes.
- Always stay in the kitchen while cooking food. Turn off the stove if you have to leave the kitchen even for a short period of time.
- Ask smokers to smoke outside and provide them with large, deep ashtrays and remind smokers to keep their smoking materials away from young children. Wet cigarette butts with water before discarding.
- If you have a decorated Christmas tree, please refer to these previously posted safety tips.
- Make sure your smoke alarms are working and test them at least once a month by pushing the test button. Also, read our Fire Safety Checklist article.
- Tell your house guests about your family’s fire escape plan. When staying overnight at other people’s homes, ask about their escape plan. This is especially important when children are permitted to attend “sleepovers” at friends’ homes. Read more here.
- If you have pets, don’t forget to read our holiday safety for pets tips.
- If you’re planning a holiday trip – read our Home Safety Tips – While You’re Away on Vacation article.
Be safe and a have a joyful Holiday Season!
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