Staying Safe: Holiday Home Safety Tips
The holidays can create greater risk at home when cooking meals, displaying decorations, and using unsafe heating sources. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, unattended cooking is the leading cause of home fires including 67 percent starting with the ignition of food or other cooking materials. To keep your family safe, review the following tips.
- Cooking: Keep children away from cooking areas. Turn pot handles facing in to prevent scalds and burns. Avoid wearing loose clothing which can be ignited by hot burners. Don't store items on top of the stove. Turkey fryers should be used outdoors and away from buildings and flammable materials.
- Portable space heaters: Place space heaters at least three feet away from anything combustible and operate only when you are in the room. Don’t leave a space heater on overnight or near children and pets.
- Holiday Decorations: The use of holiday decorations such as Christmas trees, garlands, electric lights, and candles can increase the possibility of holiday fires. Use non-combustible, flame-resistant materials. Never use lighted candles on a tree, evergreens or other flammable materials.
- Lights: Connect no more than 3 strands of mini light sets and no more than 50 bulbs for screw-in light sets on your tree. Fasten lights to the tree and prevent bulbs from coming in contact with the needles or branches. Keep candles at least 12 inches away from anything that burns. Check for loose connections, broken or cracked sockets or frayed wires. Use UL approved lighting. Turn off all holiday lights when leaving home or retiring for the evening.
- Trees: A natural tree should be fresh and will be less likely to become a fire hazard. Cut two inches off the trunk and place in a sturdy water stand, water daily. Keep the tree away from fireplaces, wall furnaces and other heat sources. Consider using a ‘fire resistant’ artificial tree.
- Fire Escape Plan: Know your escape routes. Have a working fire extinguisher in the kitchen, laundry room, and garage. Never burn greens, papers, or other decorations in the fireplace. Working smoke alarms should be installed on every level of your home, test them monthly, replace batteries every six months.
- Know who to call in case of an emergency: Keep contact numbers handy for police and fire departments, doctors and poison help line. In case of emergency property damage, contact a licensed, professional fire damage clean up and restoration company.