While the holidays are a time of family fun, they are also a time for fire and other safety hazards, as well. According to the National Fire Protection Association, there are nearly 47,000 fires a year during the winter holidays. These fires cause more than $550 million in property damages, 2,200 injuries, and 50 deaths. What causes so many of these fires? It’s mainly because of the increased use of candles, fireplaces, and highly combustible decor.
Here are some steps you can take to increase fire safety in your home or business and reduce the risk of a damaging and potentially deadly fire.
Use Battery-Operated Candles Rather Than Traditional Candles
While traditional candles have a certain appeal during the winter months, it’s highly recommended that you use battery-operated candles instead. Not only do battery-operated candles reduce fire risks dramatically, but also eliminate the risk of potential burns from hot wax.
If You Fry Your Own Turkey at Home, Use an Oil-Less Fryer Instead
Since 2002, the Consumer Product Safety Commision reports that 168 turkey-fryer related incidents have occured. These range from burns and fires to carbon monoxide poisonings and even explosions! Newer oil-less fryers are a good option, as they are significantly less of a fire risk. Here are some other steps to can take to vastly reduce fire risks from frying a turkey.
- Always ensure your turkey is fully thawed and dried out before frying
- Always set your fryer up at least 10 feet from your building on level ground
- Always use hand protection when handling the lid and handle, which can become too hot to handle with bare hands
- Always have a fire extinguisher on-hand nearby the fryer
Christmas Tree Safety Tips
While Christmas trees, especially live ones, are usually a great source of fun and memories, they are also a major fire hazard if not handled properly. The National Fire Protection Agency reports that two out of every five Christmas tree fires involved electrical distribution or lighting equipment. Dried out trees are also a major concern.
Here are some best best practices for Christmas tree safety:
- Always keep trees, real or artificial, at least three feet away from heat sources, such as fireplaces, radiators, and space heaters.
- For live trees, keep your tree well-watered by topping off the reservoir daily.
- Always use lighting tested by qualified testing laboratories and only use lighting specifically designed for indoor or outdoor use depending on your own uses.
- Always turn the lights off whenever you leave for the day or set them on a timer.
- NEVER use lit candles as tree decorations!
Other fire safety considerations include:
- Ensure that smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are tested and are working properly
- Keep emergency exits clear, especially in advance of family gatherings or special events in the case of businesses.
- Inspect heating equipment for proper operation
- Always take special care to ensure combustible items and decorations are not placed too close to any heating source.
Have a happy and safe holiday season, and a happy new year!