Fire becomes a greater hazard over the holidays. According to the Red Cross, holiday fires claim more than 500 lives and destroy more than $554 million in property every year. Statistics show the number of reported fires has risen 10% since 2000, with approximately 47,000 occurring during the winter months. These are some frightening statistics for what’s supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year.
According to the National Safety Council, fires started by Christmas trees and holiday lights damage more than 400 homes and cause more than 20 deaths each season. While fire danger may be more prevalent during the holidays, there are steps you can take to reduce the risk to you, your family and your home.
The Red Cross asserts that more candles start fires over the holidays than at any other time of year. Lit candles in trees pose a major fire hazard. It’s easy for pets or children knock a tree over or for an unstable tree to tip over on its own. If you insist on having lit candles in your tree, invest in a good stand and make sure to extinguish all candles (throughout your home) before going to bed. A better choice would be to use an electric substitute such as LED lights instead of live candles.
Flame retardant artificial Christmas trees are the most effective fire resistant trees and are an excellent alternative to live Christmas trees. They look real and require little maintenance, while a live tree can dry out and become combustible. If you or your family must have a live tree, a tree with supple, flexible needles is desirable. Keep the tree watered while it is on display.
The second most likely place for fires to start over the holidays is the kitchen stove-top. According to the Red Cross, potholders, hand towels, wooden bowls, paper plates, paper bags, food boxes and even nearby curtains have started on fire in the past. Removing combustible items from the stove-top eliminates the possibility of fire. Fires start in microwave ovens when people pop metal objects in by mistake, even during defrosting. Check any food destined for the microwave for metal ties or skewers.
Inspect electrical cords
The National Safety Council and the Red Cross suggests that people inspect the Christmas lights or other electrical decorations that go up around the house for wear and tear. Repair frayed electrical wires, and if a repair is impossible, consider throwing the decoration away or displaying it without plugging it in. The adults in the household should take responsibility for extinguishing candles and turning off Christmas lights before going to bed.
More importantly, smoke alarms are an effective weapon to fight holiday fires. With working smoke alarms, an ordinary person greatly enhances their chances of surviving a fire. Check smoke alarms as the holiday approaches and replace dead batteries. It is a good idea to test smoke alarms once a month as a routine. Give yourself a holiday gift of a working smoke alarm.
Post Author: andyc.