Christmas wouldn’t be complete without seasonal decorations, such as Christmas trees and twinkling lights. These accessories make the holidays more joyful, but not being cautious when using them can lead to dangers.
According to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), there are twice the amount of fires on Christmas Day than on any other day of the year. Also, decorations account for an average of 800 home fires and nearly $4 million in property damage in the US annually.
Follow these holiday safety tips to prevent fires and other accidents in your home during the holidays.
Holiday safety tips
- Consider choosing a flame-resistant, artificial Christmas tree instead of a real one. Make sure the tree’s label says “fire-retardant”.
- If you opt for a real tree, choose a fresh one with green needles. Water your fresh tree daily to improve the tree’s resistance to fire.
- Place your Christmas tree at least three feet away from heat sources, such as radiators, fireplaces, and candles. Nearly half of holiday decoration fires happen because decorations are placed too close to a heat source.
- Ensure the tree isn’t blocking any doorway.
- After the holidays, never burn real Christmas trees in the fireplace or wood-burning stove.
- Learn more Christmas tree safety tips.
- Use holiday decorations that are flame-resistant or flame-retardant.
- Move breakable decorations where children and pets can’t reach them.
- Keep exits clear of decorations, so nothing blocks escape routes.
- Keep matches and lighters away from children’s reach and sight, preferably in a locked cabinet.
- Use battery-operated candles instead of lighted ones. Two of every five holiday fires are started by candles.
- If you use lighted candles to decorate your home, keep them in secure holders at least one foot away from curtains, decorations, and other combustibles.
- Never put lighted candles in your Christmas tree.
- Don’t leave candles burning when you leave the room or going to bed. Always supervise them.
- Make sure children and pets are always watched when candles are lit.
- Inspect holiday lights for frayed wiring, loose connections, cracked sockets, and broken bulbs before displaying them. Discard damaged sets.
- Use extension cords carefully. Never plug more than three sets of lights into one extension cord to prevent the cord from overheating.
- If you use extension cords to light up multiple indoor lights, consider plugging them into a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) for extra safety.
- Securely fasten outdoor lights to trees, gutters or other parts of the home that are not too close to windows and doors. Use roof clips or insulated staples (NOT nails) to fasten the lights and prevent the wind from whipping them and damaging the lights.
Other holiday safety tips
- Have a fire escape plan. 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.
- Unattended cooking is the number one culprit behind most cooking fires. Always stay in the kitchen when you have something on the stove. Turn off the stove if you must leave the kitchen even for a short period of time.
- If a pan catches on fire, never pour water on it, as this may cause burning oil to splash and cause injuries.
- Have your fireplace and chimney inspected and cleaned by a professional. Place a protective screen around the fireplace to prevent embers from popping out onto flammable materials.
- Ask smokers to smoke outside and provide them with large, deep ashtrays. Wet cigarette butts with water before discarding. Also, remind smokers to keep their smoking materials away from young children.
- Keep a fire extinguisher that is rated for all types of fires on all levels of the home.
- Make sure your smoke alarms are working and test them monthly. Change the batteries yearly. A good rule of thumb is to change them with Daylight Savings Time. If you haven’t yet changed them this year, do it now. Also, replace your smoke alarms every 10 years.
- If you’re planning a holiday trip or winter driving, check out our driving safety tips for holiday travelers and how to keep your home safe while you’re away.
For fire damage restoration, call the PuroClean remediation experts
Follow these holiday safety tips to enjoy a disaster-free holiday season with your loved ones! However, if a fire event occurs in your property, PuroClean stands ready to come to your rescue. Our fire restoration technicians are prepared to deal with smoke cleanup and fire damage repairs of any size. Contact your PuroClean office for speedy and professional fire damage restoration services.