The holiday season is upon us—finally something to celebrate in this challenging year! Most of us are decorating the house, wrapping or mailing gifts for loved ones, and planning (cautious) holiday meals. Unfortunately, the holiday season is also a season of accidents, fires, and other mishaps. Just because you’re celebrating, don’t neglect safety precautions. No one wants to have to file a homeowners insurance claim in the middle of their holiday celebrations.
One of the major and most devastating holiday risks is a house fire. Here are some holiday fire safety reminders from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the American Red Cross:
- If you have a live tree, make sure you keep it watered. A dried out Christmas tree can catch fire and burn in an instant (click here to see a video).
- Even if your tree is artificial, be sure to turn off the lights on your tree before going to bed or leaving the house.
- Make sure holiday light strings are in good condition, with no loose or damaged wires or connections that could shock you or start a fire.
- Don’t overload electrical outlets or connect more than three strings of incandescent lights together—use a power strip if you need more than three strings of lights.
- Don’t pinch cords or force them into small spaces, put them under rugs, or use staples or nails to position them. Keep all cords away from heat sources.
- Make sure you hang light strings where they’re intended—some are only for use indoors or outdoors, not both.
Fires and candles
Flickering candles and firelight are certainly beautiful and festive, but they can also lead to home fires.
- Make sure all open flames are at least three feet away from anything that could catch fire—two out of every five decoration fires happen because decorations are too close to an open flame.
- Don’t leave candles or fires burning when you go to bed or leave the house.
- Make sure children and pets are not left unattended in a room where there is a fire or burning candles.
- If you’re celebrating with a menorah or kinara that uses candles, make sure to keep all flammable items at least three feet away, and place it on a non-flammable surface, like a tray covered in aluminum foil.
- Consider using battery-operated candles, since candles cause more than a third of home decoration fires.
- If you have a fire in the fireplace, use a fire screen to keep sparks from flying out and starting a fire. Keep clothes, wrapping paper, and decorations at least three feet away.
- Keep matches and lighters up high and locked away to keep little ones safe.
Historically, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day have been two of the three leading days for home fires caused by cooking (Thanksgiving is number one).
- Stay in the kitchen when you’re cooking on the stovetop.
- Turn pot handles toward the back to help keep kids from grabbing them.
- Make sure all flammable items are kept well away from the stove.
One more thing…
Remember to make sure your smoke detectors and fire extinguishers are in good working order. And if you have one, review your emergency fire escape plan with your family.
No matter how you celebrate this year, we hope you have a very happy and safe holiday season. And remember that if you’re in need of insurance, Lakewood Financial is here for you. Give us a call at 941-747-4600 or contact us online. Happy holidays!