If you are decorating for the holidays this year, make sure you do it safely. Follow the tips below to keep you and your family safe from in-home fires this holiday season.
Prevent Holiday-Related Fires This Christmas Season
According to the Herald Star, the National Fire Protection Agency and the U.S Fire Administration records home fires are at their peak during the winter season. Between 2013 and 2017, fire departments across the country responded to an average of 160 home fires per year that started with Christmas trees. Out of those home fires, one of every 52 reported fires had resulted in death. If you want to keep you, your house, and your family safe, consider these tips to ensure no fire will start.
- Buy a fresh Christmas tree — If you buy a live Christmas tree, make sure it’s fresh. The U.S. Fire Administration reports that needles on a fresh tree should be green and difficult to pull from their branches. The trunk should be sticky to the touch; otherwise, they could be dried out and pose a fire hazard.
- Check your lights — If you are hanging lights outdoors or on your tree, inspect the wires for any frays, bare spots, cracked sockets, or excessive wear before using them. Follow the recommendations of their manufacturers if you are connecting multiple strings of lights together and use an extension cord to connect the lights before plugging them into an outlet. Periodically check the wires, as they should not be warm to the touch, according to the U.S. Fire Administration.
- Keep candles out of reach — Unattended children can be drawn to lit candles and decorative lighting during the holidays. Candle fires lead to 2 percent of reported home fires, 3 percent of home fire deaths, and 6 percent of injuries due to home fires. To prevent injuries, keep your candles and decorative lights out of reach of children. This will save their lives and yours.
- Don’t burn paper — Keep paper decorations and tree trimmings away from open flames and electrical connectors. Do not burn papers in the fireplace since a flash fire may result from their burning too quickly.
- Check area before lighting a fire — Remove all greens, boughs, papers, and other flammable decorations from the fireplace area before lighting a flame. Also, check that the flue is open and always shield the fireplace with a screen.
Preparing for Home Fires
- Teach children to react properly to smoke alarms.
- Teach all family members two ways to escape from every room of the home and practice escaping at least twice a year.
- Discuss with your family where to meet up in case of a fire and how to communicate with one another.
- Make sure everyone knows how to dial 9-1-1.
- Teach household members to stop, drop, and roll if their clothing catches fire.
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