5 Holiday Home Fire Safety Tips

The holidays are upon us and with more of us staying home, we must make sure it is a safe home. All too often, however, the holidays often end in tragedy. According to the American Red Cross, nearly 47,000 fires occur during the winter holidays. These fires claim more than 500 lives, cause more than 2,200 injuries, and wind up costing $554 million in property damage.

In spite of these tragic facts, there are plenty of things that you can do to protect yourself, your family, and your loved ones from fire. Here are 5 important holiday home fire safety tips.

1) Christmas Tree: Choose a flame retardant or artificial tree. If you like live trees make sure that the tree has fresh green needles and make sure you give it plenty of water. A dry tree can go up in flames in a matter of seconds so check water levels often.

Make sure you place the tree and other holiday decorations at least 3 feet away from the heat sources in your home. This includes your fireplace, portable heaters, radiators, and heat vents.

2) Holiday Lighting: When you add lights on the tree, make sure you inspect  the strings and bulbs. If they look frayed or broken, do not put them on. Instead, purchase new sets. Any frayed cords or broken bulbs can easily spark and start a fire.

Remember to blow out all of your lit candles and unplug the tree and holiday lights if you will not be home.

3) Smoke Alarms: The American Red Cross reports that having a working smoke alarm reduces your chances of dying in a fire by nearly 50%. Install smoke alarms, especially near your kitchen and by the bedrooms, or test the ones that are already there to see if they work. If they don’t go off, replace the batteries and change the batteries once a year.

4) Heater Safety: Holidays are here and so is the cold weather. If you are operating a space heater or other heating appliance in any room, keep at least a three-foot perimeter around space heaters, stoves and fireplaces. Ensure this area is free from all paper, clothing, bedding, carpets etc. Space heaters should only be used on a level, hard surface that isn’t combustible. Ensure that children and pets cannot approach the heater when you’re not looking.

5) Candles: Many people like to use candles to add warmth and ambiance to their home during the winter holidays. However, candles cause 11% of home fires in December and 10% of fires in November and January.

To reduce the risk of fire, keep candles at least 10-12 inches away from anything that can burn, and never use them to light or decorate a Christmas tree. If you love the warm glow candles give your home, use battery-operated flameless candles, which are much safer.

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