Festive celebrations, flickering lights, and winter greens are hallmarks of the holiday season, but they also present fire risks that can quickly turn this festive time of year into a devastating one. Here are 3 hazards that can put you and your home in danger this Holiday season.
Holiday Lights and Candles
Every year, more than 50,000 home fires are started by electrical problems, according to the NFPA. So, when it comes to hanging lights, follow the directions on the box closely. Follow the obvious:
- Only use outdoor lights.
- Always inspect lights before you hang and plug them in. Check for frayed wires, broken bulbs and sockets, and loose connections.
Also, be sure to keep a watchful eye on candles; keep them away from the tree, decorations, and other things that can burn. The U.S. Fire Administration states that candles cause more than 10 deaths, 175 injuries, and $20 million in property damage each holiday season.
Fireplaces can lead to hazardous fires. Follow the list below to prevent fireplace fires:
- Be sure your home has working smoke alarms on every level.
- Dispose of ashes with great care to assure that an unexpected fire will not start due to hot ashes.
- Only burn seasoned firewood, meaning wood that is low in moisture.
- Screen the fireplace to prevent embers from popping out onto the floor or carpet.
- Never use flammable liquids to start a fire in the fireplace.
- Do not throw wrapping paper into the fireplace.
- When cleaning out the fireplace, put embers in a metal container and set them outside to cool for 24 hours before disposal.
- Have a professional chimney sweep inspect and clean the fireplace and chimney annually. Maintenance is crucial to prevent creosote buildups and potential fires.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), an average of 240 home fires begin with Christmas trees every year. These fires result in deaths, injuries, and roughly $17 million in property damage.
If you are going with an artificial tree, be sure to choose one that is fire-resistant (look for a label). Remember that trees with built-in electrical systems should also have the label of an independent test laboratory that is approved to perform safety testing. When choosing a real tree, opt for one that is green and always remember to keep it watered. As most Christmas tree fires begin at night, always turn off your Christmas tree lights each night as you go to bed, the same way you turn off your home lights.