There’s nothing like a crackling fire to keep you warm during the holidays – as long as that fire stays in the fireplace. In 2016, a home fire was reported to a U.S. fire department every 90 seconds, according to the National Fire Protection Association. The holiday season can bring extra fire risks.
Celebrate safely with these holiday fire prevention tips:
Now that it’s getting cold, you’ll want to enjoy a warm beverage by the fire. Before lighting the first fire of the season, get your chimney cleaned and inspected. Fireplaces can contribute to carbon monoxide poisoning, so make sure both your carbon monoxide detectors and smoke detectors are working properly.
Space heaters can keep you nice and toasty when the weather gets cold, but they can also cause fires when used carelessly. Keep flammable objects and children away from space heaters, and don’t leave them on unattended. Although you should place portable units on a flat surface, it’s also smart to stick to models that shut off when knocked over.
As with all fire and heat sources, candles should not be left burning when no one’s around. Put them out before you leave or go to bed. Keep flammable objects away from your candles. The U.S. Fire Administration recommends using battery-operated flameless candles.
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, fires caused by Christmas trees tend to be especially deadly. Keep trees away from heat sources. Use only non-flammable decorations and high-quality lights that are in good condition. Turn the lights off when no one’s around. Natural trees need to be cut correctly (at a 45-degree angle) and watered. Don’t keep trees once they become dry.
If your guests smoke, make sure they dispose of their cigarette butts safely. Falling asleep while smoking is another risk to be on guard against, and a good reason to have designated smoking areas.
In 2015, 50.8 percent of residential fires were caused by cooking, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. Although the holidays can be a hectic time, avoid burning your roast – or your house – by staying focused on the kitchen. Never leave cooking food unattended, and use timers to help you remember when to check on items in the oven.
In case a fire does start, make sure you have a working fire extinguisher readily available. Test your smoke detectors once a month, and replace the batteries twice a year. Never leave your smoke detectors disarmed.
All of us at Higginbotham wish you a wonderful and safe holiday season!