Keeping valuables safe during the holidays can be tricky. We often think of summer as the only season where we need to be on the lookout for fires. The U.S. Fire Administration reported that about 47,000 fires are started each year during winter holidays. At a glance, that number of fires equals $554 million in material damage! Not to mention, 500 lives taken and 2,200 injuries incurred. Be proactive about the possibility of a winter fire in your home by staying informed and adopting preventative safety measures.
Decorative Decisions During Holidays
A National Safety Council study states that every hour during the holiday season, 2-3 people are treated in emergency rooms due to decorating-related injuries. Take a look at your current decorations and consider these tips for preventing decoration-related fires and injuries.
1. Trees to Cheer About
- – Keep the Christmas tree away from the fireplace.
- – Provide the Christmas tree with a stable platform.
- – Purchase a fire resistant artificial tree to avoid being part of the statistic for Christmas tree-related fires.
- – Make sure your tree is properly watered if you insist on having a real tree.
2. Love Your Lights
- – Perform quality control on your Christmas lights to check for worn insulation or fraying.
- – Turn off Christmas lights when you will not be present to enjoy them to prevent fires and save energy.
- – Install a timer that will automatically turn your lights on and off at a chosen hour.
- – Replace Christmas lights with LED lights which burn much cooler, and have a much lower risk of starting a fire.
3. Care for Candles
- – The U.S. Fire Administration declared that fires started by candles are four times more likely during winter holidays.
- – Keep candles away from the tree and any other flammable decorations such as: wreaths, holly, poinsettias, draperies, napkins, and tapestries.
- – Never leave them unsupervised, they are like small children.
- – Purchase electric candles to avoid the dangers of flames altogether.
Hot Spot Areas & Extra Precautions
Very rarely do people regret being too careful. The U.S. Fire Administration reported that during the holiday time, there are over 40 household fires each day that are caused by children. Taking extra precautions and noting the areas that are highly susceptible to fires are great ways to ensure safety.
4. Face Your Fireplace
- – Avoid burning wreaths or wrapping paper in the fireplace after the holiday.
- – Clean the fireplace and chimney at least once a year.
- – Definitely clean your fireplace if it has not been used in several years.
- – Cover the fireplace with a metal screen or glass door to avoid the spread of sparks.
5. Kitchen Kindness
- – Keep plastic wrap, oven mitts, paper cupcake tins, and wooden utensils away from the stove top when cooking or baking.
- – Avoid wearing loose-fitting clothing that could easily move over a flame and catch fire.
- – Highly monitor the kitchen area, especially if there are small children around.
6. Extra Essentials
- – Install smoke alarms in every room.
- – Purchase longer extension cords instead of connecting multiple cords for extra length.
- – Tape power cords against the walls instead of running them underneath the rugs.
- – Check for certification tags when purchasing items that will require electricity usage.
- – Have a fire extinguisher readily available.
- – Be sure to lock up any valuables or jewelry into a burglary safe while traveling.
- – Plan an escape in case of an emergency and make your loved ones and guests aware of it.
- – Keep valuables in a fire-proof safe just in case!
Many of these precautions can be taken in a matter of minutes, but the benefits can span a lifetime. It is not too late to adopt any of these safety measures, and many of them can be used year round!