While it is the most wonderful time of the year again, it is also one of the most dangerous. Decorating for the Holiday Season is known for being wonderful, cheery, and bright, but you must be mindful of the potential fire hazards lurking behind every string of lights.According the American Red Cross, nearly 47,000 fires occur during the winter holidays, claiming over 500 lives, causing more that 2,200 injuries, and costing more than $544 million in property damages. On average, one out of every 22 home fires that is caused by a Christmas tree results in death.
The best way to celebrate this joyous season is to spread both holiday cheer and fire protection tips to keep your loved ones happy and healthy. Here are some great tips for a prepared and safe holiday:
- Place Christmas trees, candles, and holiday decorations at least three feet away from heat sources such as fireplaces, radiators, heat vents, and any kind of open flame.
- Keep Christmas trees as moist as possible by ensuring that they have plenty of water and fresh, green needles that are not easily broken.
- If you are purchasing an artificial tree, be sure that it is flame retardant.
- Check string lights and any other electric decorations to make sure that they are good condition. Do not use anything with a frayed cord and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Always unplug the Christmas tree and lights before leaving your home or going to bed. If you tend to be forgetful, try plugging the lights into a timer.
- Use a sturdy tree stand that will not tip over. Keep curious children and pets away from the tree.
- When cooking a delicious holiday meal, do not leave anything flammable, including oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, and many others, on the stovetop.
- Always extinguish any lit candles before leaving the room or going to bed. Never use candles to decorate the Christmas tree.
- Install smoke alarms all over the house, including near your kitchen, each level of your home, near sleeping areas, and inside and outside of bedrooms. Be sure to test each one every month and replace all batteries at least once a year.
- When lighting your tree, make sure that you are only using one power strip.
We hope you have a safe and wonderful time decorating for the Holiday Season!