Wrap Up the Holidays with Fire and Life Safety Tips

As the holidays are quickly approaching, there are hazards that can appear in every home that many are unaware of.

Christmas decorations can be the most joyful part of the holidays, however there are many fire hazards that can turn the spirit of Christmas into a devastating loss. When picking the perfect tree, be sure to choose a fresh tree with green needles. Cut two inches off the trunk prior to placing it into the tree stand. Do not place the tree in front of any exits and keep all things that produce heat at least three feet away from the tree. Water the tree daily and always turn off the

lights before leaving the home or going to bed. Prior to hanging lights, check all lights for any frayed or pinched wires and replace any lights with broken bulbs or cords. Always choose fire retardant lights and hang them with clips rather than nails. Do not hesitate to get rid of the tree after Christmas. 40% of Christmas tree fires occur in January. Recycling centers are a great place to dispose of trees.

Holidays are the prime time to light candles and enjoy their aroma. But remember, an open flame can be dangerous. To ensure that the candles burn safely, keep these guidelines in mind: place candles in sturdy holders and at least 12 inches away from all flammable objects. Before lighting, straighten and center the wick of the candle and cut it to 3/8”. Keep candles away from children, pets, and drafts. Always blow out candles when leaving the room, feeling sleepy or going to bed. Flameless candles are a great alternative, as they are just as decorative without being a potential fire hazard!

Did you know that half of home heating fires occur during the months of December, January, and February? It is understandable that when the temperature drops significantly, you may be desperate to get warm. But under no circumstances is it safe to use your oven as a heating source. Instead use proper heating equipment such as a furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable space heater. When using any heat source, you must keep at least a three-foot radius of clear space free from combustible materials. Once the three-foot radius is established, it is important to not let any children within that space, as they could accidentally hurt themselves.

Always keep chimneys and other equipment clean and inspected once a year by a qualified professional. For fireplaces, make sure that you have a sturdy screen to prevent any sparks from flying into the room. Ashes must be cool before putting them in a metal container that is a safe distance away from your home. Make sure that there are working Carbon Monoxide (CO) Alarms on every level of the home in case there is any type of gas leak. It is important to remember that CO is an odorless, colorless gas that can poison the body over a short or long period of time depending on the size of the leak. When going to bed or leaving the home, make sure that all heating sources are completely turned off, and as always continue to test your smoke alarms once a month.

Unfortunately, even with the utmost precautions, fires still occur, and it is important to know what to do. First, get out of the house. Oftentimes in an emergency, many become panicked with fear making it hard to get out of the house quickly and safely. To avert panic, create a family escape plan and make sure that everyone knows at least two ways out of each room. When leaving a room, close the door to prevent the fire from spreading throughout the home. It is also crucial to establish a meeting place outside and away from the home where everyone can meet after they escape. Once outside in a safe location, call 911 immediately. Practicing this plan every month can make escaping become second nature. With this, everyone can get out and stay out of the home as quickly as possible.

By following these helpful holiday safety tips, you and your loved ones can enjoy a safe and happy holiday season!

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