Holiday Fire Safety Tips

fire safetyWhen planning holiday events and decorations for your home, it’s important to keep fire safety in mind. Decorating your home can be a fun way to enjoy the spirit of the holiday season.  Unfortunately, these same decorations may increase your chances of fire.  Following a few simple fire safety tips can keep electric lights, candles, and trees from starting a fire in your home and ensure that you have a safe holiday season.

Check out these amazing statistics from the USPC (U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission).  Annually, during the two months surrounding the holiday season, more than 14,000 people are treated in hospital emergency rooms due to injuries related to holiday decorating. In addition, Christmas trees are involved in hundreds of fires resulting in an average of 15 deaths and $13 million dollars in property damage annually. Candle-related fires lead the list of hazards averaging more than 12,000 a year, resulting in 150 deaths and $393 million in property damage.

Be sure to keep the following tips in mind if you are decorating a tree this holiday season.  If you’re buying a live tree, check for freshness. A fresh tree is green and the needles are hard to pull from branches.  When setting up a tree at home, place it away from fireplaces or other heat sources.  Be sure to keep the stand filled with water to keep the tree from drying out. Cut a few inches off the trunk of your tree to expose the fresh wood. This allows for better water absorption and will help to keep your tree from drying out and becoming a fire hazard.  If you’re buying an artificial tree, look for the label “Fire Resistant”.  Although this label does not mean the tree won’t catch fire, it does indicate the tree is more resistant to burning.  Last, place the tree out of the way of traffic, and do not block doorways.

Holiday lights can be another potential fire hazard. Check all your electric decorations to ensure the wires are properly covered, not frayed and the bulbs are intact. Throw out any that are damaged.  Don’t take any chances with old lights! If they look like they’ve outlived their useful life, discard them.  Never leave any lights or decorations on while you are sleeping or away from home.  Make sure that you are using extension cords, outlets and lights that have been safety-tasted by a reputable testing agency. Don’t connect too many strands of lights or extension cords together. Overloaded plugs are one of the main causes of fires during the holiday season.

Candles are a beautiful way to decorate your home during the holidays.  However, they can also be very dangerous and can increase your chances of an accidental fire significantly.  Make sure to take the proper precautions when burning candles in your home.  Always keep burning candles out of the reach of children and pets.  Place candles where they will not be knocked down and keep them away from curtains.  Never put lighted candles on or within three feet of a tree or other greenery.  Don’t leave candles burning unattended or allow them to burn overnight.  Don’t burn a candle all the way down.  You should always throw a candle out when only two inches of wax remain.

Following these tips can reduce your chances of having an accidental fire in your home and make the holidays safe and enjoyable for yourself and your family.

We are Atlanta’s premier water and fire restoration experts specializing in water damage, water restoration, water extraction, fire damage, smoke damage, mold remediation and more. Serving metro Atlanta and surrounding cities since 1998. For more home improvement and safety tips follow us on Twitter: @premierdrying, Facebook or Google+.

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