When you think about the holidays, you probably think of the lights, candles, food, decorations, maybe even a tree. What do all of these things have in common? There is a risk of starting a fire. Here are some tips to keep your holiday safe and accident free this year!
Cooking: No holiday celebration is complete without its fair share of cooking and baking! It’s important to take precautions against cooking fires. Keep flammable items such as hand towels away from stove tops. Be sure to clean up any grease you may spill while cooking, as it is very flammable. Always keep a fire extinguisher nearby when cooking or baking in the event that something does catch fire. Keep children away from the stove and oven, as well as hot pans, pots, or baking sheets. See the U.S. Fire Administration guidelines for Holiday Cooking Safety.
Menorahs & Kinaras: If you celebrate Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, consider using electric menorahs or kinaras. If you prefer to use traditional candles, be sure to keep your menorah or kinara away from flammable items, such as curtains, tablecloths and other decorations. Be sure to keep your menorah or kinara on a non-flammable surface and never leave lit candles unattended.
Christmas Trees: The easiest way to prevent a fire when it comes to Christmas trees is to use a fire-resistant artificial tree and put it away from heat sources such as fireplaces and radiators. If you do opt for a real tree, make sure to pick a healthy, green tree and water it daily. Dry needles are at more risk to catch fire. Don’t use any worn or broken lights on the tree and don’t plug in more than three string lights together, use a power strip instead. Always unplug your lights before leaving the house and keep the tree away from heat sources. The biggest issue is not throwing your tree out early enough. It’s easy to leave the tree and other decorations up until March, but a dry tree means higher fire risk.
Decorations: If you are decking out your home with decorations this holiday season, try to follow a few simple precautions. Make sure to check your light cords for frays or breaks and don’t string too many together, three per extension cord. Make sure that the lights you are using are for outdoor use and make sure the strings are securely fastened to your home or trees. If you are using nails or hooks to secure your lights, be sure they are insulated to prevent electrocution or a fire sparking. Most importantly, turn off your lights when going to sleep or leaving your home.