During the holidays, all too often in our rush to get everything done to make the season special we overlook some of the basic safety precautions necessary to make everything magical. Home fires is one of the leading causes of holiday disasters and these fires are more often than not, completely preventable. Rapid Refile, LLC, a document restoration and disaster recovery service, has put together a very helpful fire prevention guide for home owners to follow this holiday season to ensure a safe and disaster-free celebration.
The following is some of the recommendations they have compiled (see full article for references):
Christmas Tree Safety and Fire Prevention:
• Keep trees securely upright in a stand to ensure that it will not accidentally tip over or be knocked over by children or pets.
• Keep your tree away from any and all heat sources.
• Make sure natural trees are well watered.
• If you have purchased an artificial tree, please make sure it is labeled “fire retardant”.
• Unplug the tree lights before leaving your home or before going to bed.
• Avoid using real candles on a tree. Real Christmas trees contain natural oils that are very flammable, especially if the tree is dry.
• Use a maximum of three strands of tree lights on a single extension cord.
Holiday Lighting Safety:
• Unplug any lighting, indoor and out, before going to bed.
• Never leave any candles unattended.
• Avoid using live candles with a flame on windowsills and mantles.
• Do not let pets or children chew on strands of lights.
• Make sure the cords used for lights and other decorations are not frayed.
• Do not run electrical wires under rugs.
• Make sure all candles are in sturdy holders that will not tip over and are placed away from furniture and other home accessories.
• Trim candle wicks to a ¼-inch in height.
Fireplace & Woodstove Fire Prevention:
• Have a professional inspect your fireplace annually.
• Inspect your stove or fireplace for any cracks regularly.
• Always use a screen in front of your fireplace while it is burning.
• Do not burn your Christmas tree, wreaths, or leftover wrapping paper in a fireplace or stove.
Additional Fire Prevention and Fire Safety Tips:
• Exercise caution if using a space heater in a bedroom. Never place a heater next to a bed, as blankets could ignite. Place the heater in a place where a sleepy person getting up in the middle of the night will not trip over it.
• Keep fire extinguishers handy on every level of your home in a place where they can be easily accessed. Keep an extinguisher in your kitchen and by any fireplaces or stoves.
It is easy to get caught up in the excitement of the season and forget some of these basic and not so basic rules for keeping a home and your family safe from a potential fire hazard. Take the time to look over your family room, bedrooms and any other place where you may have a fireplace, heater or Christmas tree to ensure you have a fire disaster-free holiday season.