The holiday season is one of the most dangerous times of the year for household fires. At this time, they are more common, more costly, and more fatal than during any other time of the year. Here are some tips to help avoid this holiday risk!
Cooking is the most common cause of holiday fires, mainly when food is left unattended. It’s easy to get distracted, so when you leave the kitchen, take a pot holder with you as a reminder. Make sure you have a kitchen fire extinguisher, and check that your smoke detectors are working and have fresh batteries.
Candle fires are four times more likely in December than they are during other months. To reduce that risk, keep roughly a foot of space between the candle and anything flammable. Make sure the candles have sturdy bases and never leave flames unattended. Before bed, go through each room and make sure every candle is out. You may want to consider flameless LED candles instead for extra safety. These tips can be applied to menorahs and kinaras as well. If a candle starts a fire, there might be time to put it out with a fire extinguisher, however, if the room catches fire, get out and call 911.
It takes less than 30 seconds for a dry tree to engulf a room in flames. With that being said, keep your tree well-watered because well-watered trees are much more difficult to ignite and spread the fire slower than a dry tree. Keep your tree, live garlands and other greenery at least three feet away from heat sources such as fire places, or baseboards.
No matter how well you water your tree, it will start to dry out after roughly four weeks, so take it down after the holidays. Artificial trees tend not to be as much of a fire hazard, just make sure yours is flame-resistant. If your Christmas tree catches fire, do not attempt to put it out. Get out immediately and call 911.
Check light strings, and dispose of any with damaged wires or sockets. Don’t run more than three strings of lights end to end and check that your extension cords are in good condition and UL-rated for indoor/outdoor use. When hanging lights outside, try not to use nails or staples, since these can damage the wiring and increase the risk of a fire. Instead, use UL-rated clips or hangers. Additionally, keep outdoor light connectors are away from metal rain gutters and off the ground. Unplug the lights before leaving the house or going to sleep. Lastly, take them down within 90 days, because the longer they are up, the more chance there is for animals to chew on them or weather to damage them.
Screen the fireplace to prevent embers from popping out onto the floor or carpet, and never use flammable liquids to start a fire in the fireplace. Only burn seasoned wood! Do not burn Christmas tree branches or wrapping paper in your fireplace. Keep anything flammable at least three feet away from the flames and never leave the fire unattended for extended periods of time. When you are done using the fireplace, make sure all embers are fully extinguished before you go to bed or leave.
Holiday fires are never something we expect, but by taking these steps, we can drastically reduce our risk!
Here at Lantz Family Insurance Agency we are committed to providing our clients with quality insurance and superior customer service – including when disaster strikes. Should the need arise to file a claim, we’re ready to assist you in any way we can. Call us for a FREE, No Obligation Quote at 774-992-0789 or email email@example.com.
Peter C. Lantz (Pete) has been a Licensed Insurance Agent in Massachusetts for more than 10 years. He has worked for Arbor Insurance Brokerage, Inc. and USA Wealth Group, Inc. as an Insurance Broker and Financial Advisor. Pete has served in the United States Marine Corps Reserve. Pete has his Real Estate Brokers’ License, as well as Life and Health Insurance Licenses.