The holiday season is a special time to reflect on our gratitude and to celebrate with beloved family and friends. Naturally, fire safety may not be on one’s radar, however, according to the National Fire Protection Association, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are amongst the deadliest days for house fires. The overwhelming majority of these house fires can be prevented. A heightened situational awareness of potential holiday-related fire hazards is paramount to help ensure a safer holiday.
Potential Fire Hazards:
1. Christmas trees:
Christmas tree fires can be caused by and are not limited to decorative lights, candles and other heat sources such as portable heaters, fireplace and/or cooking equipment. Positioning your Christmas tree at a safe enough distance away from these heat sources is a helpful mitigation strategy. Live Christmas trees will dry out becoming a fire hazard if not watered regularly. Real Christmas trees should be removed when the needles start to dry out and or fall off in large quantities.
Artificial trees offer better fire retardation, though precautions relating to fire hazards still must be considered.
Candles shouldn’t be positioned too close to any potentially flammable objects such as a Christmas tree, cloth furniture or curtains. Positioning should also consider children and/pets who may accidentally knock lit candles over. Candle fires that occur when home occupants have fallen asleep or are not in the room can have deadly consequences. Candles should never be left unattended. LED (Light Emitting Diode) battery-operated candles offer a safer alternative. These candles are also available in a wax candle base, which provides them with a similar look and feel to a regular candle, without the fire risks.
Though this hazard is not unique to the holiday season, a busy Christmas kitchen may lead to fire injuries and or death. To avoid spills and burns, minimize the number of people working in the kitchen. It is also important to minimize loose clothing and other combustibles near cooking equipment and other open flame appliances.
4. Portable Heaters:
The use of portable heaters indoors does pose risks as a fire hazard. A portable heater should be positioned at a safe enough distance away from combustible objects such as curtains or a Christmas tree. Newer electric portable heaters come with auto-shutoff capabilities when tipped over and a timer to help mitigate fire risks. Always plug portable heaters directly into wall outlets.
5. Smoke Alarms
Smoke alarms simply save lives! Your home should have a fully functioning smoke alarm on every floor. Smoke alarms should be tested for working batteries every month, batteries should be replaced yearly.
For more information and tips on fire safety, please visit our Fire Safety links. The team at PLC wishes you and your loved ones, a safe and happy holiday season.