While the winter holidays are a time for joy, more fires occur during the holidays than on any time of the year. Decorations for special events, such as candles and Christmas lights, can be a fire hazard if not handled safely. Here are essential steps to ensure a happy and fire-safe holiday season:
- Only flame-resistant or flame flame-retardant holiday decorations should be used.
- Metallic Christmas trees should never be decorated with electric lights to avoid the risk of fire and electric shock. Here are more Christmas tree safety tips.
- Using battery-operated candles is much safer than using real candles.
- When real candles are used, children in the home must be watched at all times when the candles are lit.
- Matches and lighters must be kept in a locked cabinet out of children’s reach.
- When indoors, candles should be kept away from curtains, decorations and other combustibles.
- Only lights that bear the seal of a nationally recognized testing laboratory should be used. Clips, not nails, must be used to hang lights, so the cords do not get damaged.
- Each set of lights must be checked for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections. Damaged sets need to be discarded.
- Exits must be kept clear of decorations, so nothing blocks escape routes.
- Someone should always stay in the kitchen while cooking food. If no one will be supervising the stove, even for a short time, it should be turned off.
- Smokers should smoke outside and discard cigarette butts in large, deep ashtrays that have water at the bottom. Smokers should be reminded to keep their smoking materials away from young children.
- Smoke alarms must be tested once a month by pushing the test button. The batteries should be replaced at least once a year.
- Homeowners should create a fire escape plan and practice it with the whole family. Each family member should learn what to do if a fire breaks out.
- Homeowners should tell their house guests about the home’s fire escape plan. Bonus: tips for hosting a safe party during the holidays.
- Pets should also be included in a home’s fire escape plan.
As fires can occur in other ways in a house, here are 12 key tips to prevent home fires and tips to use a fireplace safely. The PuroClean team stands ready to provide professional restoration services to any property affected by fire, water or mould damage.