Posted on November 15, 2017
Safety Tips During the Holidays
The holidays are a time when most people think about family, festivities and good cheer. Few of us consider that the holidays also present an increased risk of home fires.
Most home fires during the holiday season involve cooking, Christmas trees, candles and holiday decorations. Most home fires can be prevented during the holidays and beyond by taking preventive measures.
Kitchen and Cooking Safety
Thanksgiving is the leading day of the year for home fires involving cooking equipment. Safety in the kitchen is extremely important especially in cases where there is a lot of activity in the home. Unattended cooking is the leading cause of home fires and injuries in the U.S. Most cooking fires involve the stovetop.
- Always stay in the kitchen while you are cooking.
- Check on food regularly (i.e. frying, grilling, broiling, roasting, etc.); use a timer to remind you.
- Be careful of hot liquids or foods that may steam or splash (i.e. gravy, coffee, etc.) – they can cause serious burns.
- Keep knives out of reach of children.
- Be sure cords from any appliances are not dangling off the counter within reach of children.
- Keep a lid nearby when cooking to smother small grease fires. Cover the pan with the lid and turn off the stovetop.
- Always keep oven mitts and towels away from hot surfaces.
- Create a “kid-free zone” at least 3ft around any area where hot food/drinks are prepared.
- Keep the floor clear to avoid trip and fall hazards.
- If you have a cooking fire, get out and call 911 immediately.
Candles are widely used in homes throughout the holidays. More than half of all candle fires start because the flame is too close to things that can catch fire. More than 1/3 of home candle fires begin in the bedroom. December is the month when most home candle fires occur.
- Keep candles at least 12” away from things that can burn.
- Remember to blow candles out before leaving the room or going to sleep.
- Use sturdy candle holders.
- Place candles on uncluttered surfaces.
- Avoid placing candles in areas where people may fall asleep.
- Never leave a child or pet alone in a room with a burning candle.
- Always keep matches and lighters out of reach of children.
- Consider using flameless candles.
Christmas Tree Safety
One out of every three home Christmas tree fires are caused by electrical problems; one in six is the result of a heat source too close to the tree. Artificial trees should be labeled certified or be identified by the manufacturer as fire-retardant. Fresh trees should have green needles that do not fall off when touched. Trees should be watered daily to avoid drying out.
- Trees should not block an exit or be placed near a heat source (i.e. fireplaces, space heaters, candles, heat vents, lights, etc.)
- When using lights, be sure they have a label of a recognized testing laboratory.
- Be aware if lights are for indoor or outdoor use.
- Replace any lights with worn cords or loose bulb connections. Always read manufacturer instructions.
- Never use lit candles to decorate a tree.
- Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to sleep.
- Dried-out trees are a fire hazard and should not be left in the home, garage, or placed outside the home.
Please stay safe throughout the holiday season.