The holidays are a time for family, food, and fun. A house fire is the last thing on our minds. So, it’s easy to overlook the potential fire risk from common holiday items such as candles, indoor trees, and twinkle lights. According to the National Fire Protection Association, almost 47,000 fires take place during the holiday season and, tragically, one in thirty-one Christmas tree fires result in death.
It’s hard to imagine the simple joy of baking an apple pie, roasting a turkey, or cooking Grandma’s family recipe getting out of hand and causing a fire. The reality is, with all of the distractions of hosting a big meal, cooking-related fires in the kitchen are the leading cause of home fires.
Listed are a few precautions for this holiday season, so your time with family and friends is not only enjoyable but safe.
- Set a timer. When baking, remember to set a timer and don’t leave the house. Your apple pie or honey ham will come out right on time and you’ll avoid a potential fire.
- Put a lid on it. If something happens to catch fire on the stove, cover the pot with a lid and turn off the burner immediately.
- Clean your counter spaces. Keep dishtowels, paper towels and curtains away from the stovetop.
- Keep candles at a distance. Make sure candles are at least twelve inches away from anything combustible
- Secure and maintain your tree. Use a sturdy stand to prevent your tree from falling over. Water your tree on a regular basis to keep it moist. Once the needles are dry and browned, dispose of them. Keep Christmas trees at least three feet away from any source of heat or flame.
- Decorate safely. Unplug twinkle lights before going to bed or leaving the house. Keep decorations away from heat sources.
- Keep a close eye on little ones. It’s wonderful to have children in the house, especially this time of year. Just make sure and keep matches and cigarette lighters out of reach. Forty-three percent of home fires involving play are started by children under the age of 6 years of age.
- Check your smoke detectors’ batteries. On the way out the door to your next holiday shopping trip, take a second to test your smoke detectors. Tossing new batteries in your cart will be quick and easy and you will sleep better knowing your smoke detectors are all working properly.
For more tips on preventing potential house fires, visit the American Red Cross website or read through these holiday decoration safety tips from the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Contact our team for information on homeowners insurance and umbrella policies to ensure you’re properly covered should a fire occur. By taking these small precautions, your family can enjoy a safe holiday season this winter.