Preventing Fires during the Holidays
It’s hard to believe that the holidays are already here! With Thanksgiving this week, many of us will be spending time with family, eating lots of delicious foods, and carrying on many yearly traditions. One of those traditions might include getting your house and yard ready for the Christmas season. While the decorations are beautiful and festive, they can be dangerous and can increase the risk of fire in your home if they are not done properly.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, between 2011-2015 U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 200 home fires that started with Christmas trees per year. These fires caused an estimated $14.8 million in direct property damage annually, along with causing 6 deaths and 16 injuries. U.S. fire departments also responded to over 800 home structure fires annually that began with decorations that excluded Christmas trees. So when you are getting out all those decorations this year here are some tips from the NFPA to help keep you, your family, and your home safe.
- Choose decorations that are flame resistant or flame retardant.
- Connect no more than 3 strands of mini-light sets and a maximum of 50 bulbs for screw-in bulbs.
- Use lights that have the label of an independent testing laboratory. Check the packaging; some lights are only for indoor use.
- Do not block exits with trees or decorations.
- Get rid of your tree right after Christmas – or when it’s dry – look for community recycling programs for disposal of your tree.
- Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections.
- Use clips, not nails, to hang lights so the cords do not get damaged.
- Bring outdoor electrical lights inside after the holidays to prevent hazards and make them last longer.
- Keep candles at least 12-inches from ANYTHING that burns.
- Make sure your tree is at least 3-feet away from heat sources like fireplaces, radiators, space heaters, candles, and heat vents.
- When choosing a real tree, make sure the needles are fresh and green and do not fall off when touched. Before placing it in the stand, cut 2” from the base of the tree.
- Water real trees daily. To find out why, check out this video comparing the flammability of a dry Christmas tree versus one that is watered daily.
- Make sure if you have an artificial tree, it’s labeled, certified, or identified by the manufacturer as fire-retardant.
- Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed.