The holiday season should be a time for family, friends, and relaxation; not a time to stress about a fire in your home. Residential fires are more frequent during the holiday season and usually end up being more costly, and deadly, than any other time of the year. The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) reports more than double the number of open-flame fires on Christmas Day than on an average day, and about twice as many on New Year’s Day.
We’ve gathered some safety tips to keep your household safe this season and to keep your holiday cheer at an all time high.
According to the USFA, cooking is the main cause of holiday fires, especially when food is left unattended. The kitchen is the heart of the home and can become the place where everyone is hanging out, so we understand that it is easy to become distracted. If you have to leave the room, bring a potholder with you as a reminder that you have something on the stove. It is important to have a fire extinguisher in your kitchen and to check that all smoke detectors are working. If you plan on deep-frying a turkey, make sure to do it outside, on a flat, level surface at least 10 feet from the house.
Did you know that it only takes 30 seconds for a dry tree to engulf a room in flames? It’s very important to make sure that you keep your tree away from flammables and heaters.
If you are cutting down a live tree this year, find one with intact needles, get a fresh cut on the trunk, and water it everyday. A well-watered tree is almost impossible to ignite. Remember that even a well-watered tree will start to dry out after four weeks, so take it down after the holidays to minimize risk. Most artificial trees have minimal fire hazard, just make sure yours in flame-retardant.
The best step you can take to make sure your decorative lights won’t cause a fire is to inspect the light strings and throw out any with frayed or cracked wires or broken sockets. Stacking the plugs is a safer option than trying to strings lights end to end. You’ll also want to check your extension cords to make sure that they are in good condition.
When hanging outdoor lights avoid using nails or staples, which can damage the wiring and increase the risk of a fire. You can instead use UL-rated clips or hangers.
Now that the weather is getting colder, fireplace season begins. Make sure to have your chimney inspected to see if it needs cleaning. You’ll want to screen the fireplace to prevent embers from popping out and onto the floor or carpet and never use flammable liquids to start your fire. Burn only seasoned wood, and please, no wrapping paper.
When you are cleaning out your fireplace, remember to put embers in a metal container and set them outside to cool for at least 24 hours before disposing of them.
From your friends at Carbondale Fire District, we hope you are warm and safe this holiday season. As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us at anytime. Happy Holidays!