After Thanksgiving, many Americans take the holiday weekend to set up Christmas and holiday decorations. We like to remind our clients of some basic home safety tips. According to the Unites States Fire Administration, the following facts apply to the holiday season (https://www.usfa.fema.gov/prevention/outreach/holiday.html):
- One of every four home Christmas tree fires is caused by electrical problems.
- Although Christmas tree fires are not common, when they do occur, they are more likely to be serious. On average, one of every 32 reported home Christmas tree fires results in a death compared to an average of one death per 143 total reported home fires.
- A heat source too close to the tree causes one in every four Christmas tree fires.
- The top three days for home candle fires are Christmas, New Year’s Day, and Christmas Eve.
- Candles start two out of five home decoration structure fires.
So what tips can you do to mitigate fires? Here are some ideas:
If you use a real tree, make sure it’s fresh. Look for green needles, resin on the trunk butt of the tree, and be sure when the tree is bounced on the ground a large amount of needles does not fall off of it (that would indicate it is dry). Consider where in the room a tree is placed. Keep away from fireplaces and other heat sources. Also, if you use candles, be sure to keep them away from the tree. Don’t forget one of the most important tips for real trees: remember to water them!
Lights are another area to utilize caution. Use lights that have been tested for safety and are certified by an accredited certification organization (CSA International, UL, or ELT) and discard any broken lights, frayed cords, or loose connections. Do an inspection each year prior to hanging lights or placing on a tree. Also, be sure to turn off all lights when you go to bed to minimize the risk of fires.
In general, this is the time of year to exercise caution and be aware of your surroundings. Be sure to change batteries in smoke detectors and ensure gutters are cleaned on the house. When using paper ornaments and wrapping paper, be aware of surroundings so flammable items do not get near fires. A few simple tips can make a substantial difference in your home safety! Here are some articles for further information: (https://www.cpsc.gov/PageFiles/121347/611.pdf, https://www.parents.com/holiday/christmas/safety/12-tips-for-holiday-home-safety/).