Dabl at Home
4 Ways To Practice Fire Safety During The Holidays!
Take precautions to avoid starting a dangerous fire in your home during your holiday celebrations!
Did you know that the most house fires occur during the Winter? According to the American Red Cross, nearly 47,000 house fires occur each year during the holidays. In addition, half of all the home heating fires that happen each year occur between December and February. These numbers can likely be attributed to more time spent indoors during the coldest part of the year, cooking disasters while preparing holiday meals, and the introduction of potentially flammable decorations into our homes. But just by being aware of the increased fire danger will increase your awareness of potential fire hazards that may be lurking in your home. Once you know what to look for, there are plenty of precautions you can put in place starting now to eliminate fire hazards and significantly lower your home’s risk of catching fire this Winter.
While holiday decor certainly helps make it feel festive, they can also become potential fire hazards. However, being strategic about how you place holiday decor around your home will keep your house and your loved ones infinitely safer. For example, at least 25% of Christmas tree fires that occur each year only started because the tree was placed too close to a heat source, such as a fireplace or a radiator. In general, it’s a good idea to place all holiday decorations at least three feet or farther from heat sources, including fireplaces, furnaces, portable heaters, radiators, and heat vents.
It probably goes without saying, but keep candles and lit jack-o-lanterns away from other decorations in your home that could catch on fire. Only use candles in the home with adult supervision and do not leave the candle unattended. Similarly, keep the candle out of reach of pets and children who may not understand proper fire safety. Many fires have occurred in the past because a pet got a little too curious about a jack-o-lantern or a child tried to play with a candle!
Last but not least, consider carefully if you actually need a real Christmas tree. While picking out a real tree every year may be a family tradition, real trees are three times more likely to catch fire than artificial trees. In addition, many artificial trees look extremely realistic and are coated in flame-retardant coating for extra safety.
Cook with caution.
We’ve probably all heard holiday horror stories about an unexpected grease fire that destroyed the family home or an air-fried turkey going up in flames on Thanksgiving. Therefore, it’s important to pay extra attention to potential fire hazards while preparing your holiday meal this year. Make sure to keep an eye on food while it’s cooking at all times, and never leave the home while the stove or oven is on unless another adult is present to supervise. In reality, the best idea is to stay in the kitchen the entire time the stove is on so you can act immediately to prevent damage and injuries if an emergency does occur. In addition, make sure to clean surfaces in your kitchen frequently to prevent grease buildup that can cause grease fires. Finally, it’s also a good idea to keep an easily accessible fire extinguisher in your kitchen.
Check your fireplace.
On a cold Winter evening, there is nothing better than getting cozy by the fireplace. But before you do that, you need to make sure your fireplace is in good condition. Your fireplace and chimney should be inspected by a qualified professional every year to make sure everything is in working order. The inspector will also make sure the fireplace is clean and properly ventilated, which is important for preventing house fires and potential exposure to carbon monoxide.
Heating system and electrical failures can definitely cause disasters. So while we’re on the subject of warming up, it would also be a good idea to think about having your HVAC system inspected to ensure your heater, furnace, and water heater are all in good condition and properly ventilated. You should also change HVAC filters if needed before you will be relying heavily on your heater to get you through the Winter.
Don’t forget about smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
Of course, we can’t talk about fire safety without acknowledging the importance of smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. While all homes are required to have smoke detectors, older homes may not have carbon monoxide detectors which could be deadly if this odorless, toxic gas is present and you aren’t notified. Once you have both types of detectors installed throughout your home, be sure to test them at least once a month to confirm they are working. Usually, all you have to do to test these devices is push a button. Of course the hope is that a fire or gas emergency won’t ever occur in your home, but the alert provided by smoke and carbon monoxide detectors could save your life and limit damage to your home.