Safety Tips to Prevent Fires During the Holidays

December 21st, 2018 by Meagan Noin

A couple of weeks ago, we shared the dangers of Christmas Tree Fires and what precautions to take to keep you safe. This week, we wanted to discuss a similar topic, general holiday fire safety.

During the holidays, it seems like there are more fire risks with candles, fireplaces and holiday cooking. The U.S. Fire Administration reports that open-flame fires nearly double on Christmas Day than on an average day during the year.

We wanted to share a few safety tips that can keep your family and home safe during the holiday season.   

Christmas Tree Fires

As stated in our previous post, Christmas tree fires alone result in 13 million dollars, annually, in property damage. Additionally, between 2012-2016, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 170 home fires that started with Christmas trees per year.

Christmas trees are highly flammable if they are not cared for properly. Pick a fresh tree, water daily and keep the tree away from heat sources like fire places, radiators and candles.

For more information on Christmas Tree Fires, read our tips on Christmas Tree Fire Safety.

Candles

Candles can be the perfect addition to a holiday dinner table or a decorated mantel. However, they can also lead to total destruction of your home. Christmas/Christmas Eve and New Year’s/New Year’s Eve are four of the five most popular days of the year that residential candle fires occur.

To decrease this danger, there are a couple of precautions you can take:

  • Try to maintain about a foot of space between a candle and anything that is flammable
  • Set candles on sturdy bases so they are less likely to tip over
  • Before bed or leaving the house, walk through each room to make sure all candles are blown out
  • Remember to never leave a flame unattended

If you want to enjoy the holiday season without worry, you can consider flameless LED candles. These candles have the same effect of an actual candle without the dangerous aspect of fire. They have the ability to flicker and can be controlled by an ON/OFF switch or even a remote control.

 Fireplaces

A cozy addition to your holiday season is a wood burning fireplace. Imagine, as the wood fire burns, your family room is filled with a warm smoky scent and everyone is gathered around enjoying the warm fire during a cold winter night.

Fireplace fires are beautiful but also require great attention and care. Before fireplace season starts, have your chimney inspected. Soot can harden on chimney walls and can turn into flammable creosote. If creosote is found, it’s time for your chimney to be cleaned.

During fireplace season, make sure to keep a screen on the fireplace to prevent the embers from popping out onto the floor or carpet. Remember to only burn seasoned wood and never use flammable liquids to start a fire. Always be ready to put out the fire in case of an emergency. Lastly, when cleaning out the fireplace, put embers in a metal container and set them outside to cool for 24 hours before disposal.

Cooking  

Did you know that cooking is the top cause of holiday fires? With the most common culprit being food that is left unattended? Whether you set a timer on your phone or even take a pot holder with you as a small reminder, remember that part of your attention needs to be on the food that is cooking.

In case of an emergency in the kitchen, aways have a fire extinguisher that is easily accessible.

It’s important to note that all fire extinguishers are not the same and some are not safe for typical kitchen fires. Ensure that your extinguisher is rated for all types of fires nearby. All household extinguishers are classified A, B, or C (or a combination of these) on the label to indicate which types of fires — ordinary combustibles, flammable liquids, or electrical—you can use them on. Many of the ones sold at home stores are classified A, B, C and fight all three types of fires.

We want to wish everyone a safe holiday season and a Merry Christmas!