For all home and property owners, the holidays are a time for family and great memories. What many of us don’t consider is that the holiday season is also has the highest number of home fires. According to the NFPA (National Fire Protection Assoication), most households engage in holiday activities that are some of the leading causes of home fires, including cooking! Use of candles, Christmas trees, and holiday decorations also contribute to the seasonal causes. Add to chaos of the holiday season to the mix, the chance for a home fire grows even more.

Home fires are more likely to occur when people are distracted or tired. Luckily, just being more aware of what you are doing this season pertaining to cooking and decorating can greatly reduce the risk of a fire in your home this season. Did you know that leaving your stove unattended while cooking is the leading cause of home fires in the United States? To prevent this, you will want to always keep a watchful eye over your stove while frying, cooking, grilling, or broiling. Keep anything that can catch fire away from the stove, and turn it off when you leave the kitchen. Also, don’t wear loose or dangling accessories or clothing while cooking, as it could be caught by an open flame.

Also, candles are used a lot during the holiday season, and December is the peak month for home candle fires. According to statistics, two out of every five home decoration fires are started by candles. If you plan on using candles this season, keep them about 12 inches away from anything that could possibly burn. Remember to blow them out when you leave the room, and also when you go to bed. Lastly, use candle holders that are sturdy and wont tip over. Avoid using candles in your bedroom, where one-third of U.S candle fires begin.

The NFPA states that U.S fire departments respond to 230 holiday related home structure fires each year. One out of every three of them is caused by electrical problems, and one in five results from a heat source that is too close to the tree. Here are some tips to help you avoid any issues with your tree this year:

– Make sure that if you purchase an artificial tree that it is labeled and identified by the manufacturer as fire-retardant.

– If you purchase a live tree, make sure the needles don’t fall off when you touch them; this means that it is dry and can easily catch on fire. Cut the trunk 1-2 inches from the base of the truck, and water the tree frequently.

– Make sure the tree isn’t blocking any exits and is at least 3 feet away from any source of heat.

– Use lights that are labeled for indoor use.

– Replace any string of lights that has worn or broken cords, or even loose bulbs. Do not connect more than three strands of mini-sets and a maximum of 50 bulbs for screw-ins.

– Never use lit candles to decorate the tree

– Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving or going to bed.

– If you have a live tree, make sure to get rid of it after Christmas. Dried out trees are definite fire hazards and shouldn’t be left in home or in the garage.

– Bring outdoor lights inside to prevent any hazards and to make them last longer.

Updated: November 18, 2014 — 5:05 pm
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