The holiday season is officially in full effect. And while we are already a few days past Thanksgiving, Christmas is only weeks away. This is the time of brightly-lit Christmas trees and homes covered in Christmas lights Griswold-fashion, the danger still lurks for a house fire. The American Red Cross has some great preparedness tips to make sure that your home is fire-safe during the holiday’s…
Some Helpful Tips:
- Nearly 47,000 fires occur during the winter holidays claiming more than 500 lives, causing more than 2,200 injuries, and costing $554 million in property damage.**
- On average, one of every 22 home fires started by Christmas trees result in death.***
- Candle fires are four times as likely to occur during the winter holidays.**
- During the winter holiday season, an average of 40 home fires per day are caused by children playing.**
- The number of home fires the American Red Cross has responded to has risen 10% since 2000.*
- Having a working smoke alarm reduces one’s chances of dying in a fire by nearly half.**
- Place Christmas trees, candles, and other holiday decorations at least three feet away from heat sources like fireplaces, portable heaters, radiators, heat vents and candles.
- Purchase flame retardant metallic or artificial trees. If you purchase a real tree, make sure that it has fresh, green needles that aren’t easily broken.
- Keep live trees as moist as possible by giving them plenty of water. Make sure that light strings and other holiday decorations are in good condition.
- Do not use anything with frayed electrical cords and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Always unplug tree and holiday lights before leaving home or going to bed.
- Never use lit candles to decorate a tree. Always extinguish candles before leaving the room or going to bed. Use only sturdy tree stands designed not to tip over.
- Keep curious pets and children away from Christmas trees.
- Keep anything that can catch on fire—pot holders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, and towels or curtains—away from your stove top.
- Designate one person to walk around your home to make sure that all candles and smoking materials are properly extinguished after guests leave.
- Smoke alarms save lives. Install a smoke alarm near your kitchen, on each level of your home, near sleeping areas, and inside and outside bedrooms if you sleep with doors closed.
- Use the test button to check it each month. Replace all batteries at least once a year.
Sources: American Red Cross,* U.S. Fire Administration,** and the National Fire Protection Association.***