So excited to say the holiday season continues. With Thanksgiving this year on the 22nd of November, it has given us an additional week to enjoy the holidays. No matter what holiday you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or all three, we are all excited to share in the holiday spirit. With radio stations playing songs, plays taking place at school and tree lightings this is such a magical time of year. It’s easy to get caught up in the holiday festivities, and while you’re busy decorating the house, safety is not the first thing on everyone’s mind.
As stated by the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) festive meals, flickering lights and holiday decorations are all hallmarks of the holiday season. However, Christmas trees, candles, electrical decorations, and cooking all contribute to an increased number of home fires during December, making it one of the leading months for U.S. home fires.
To help everyone enjoy a fire-safe holiday season, NFPA is encouraging everyone to be aware of potential fire risks, and to take steps to minimize them.
“Fire can quickly turn this festive time of year into a tragic one,” said Lorraine Carli, vice president of NFPA’s Outreach and Advocacy division. “Fortunately, when decorating your home and entertaining guests, following some simple safety precautions can go a long way toward enjoying a fire-safe holiday season.”
To ensure you have a safe, healthy, and happy holiday season with your family, friends, pets and co-workers here are a few tips to keep in mind as you deck out your home:
1. Smoke detectors.
Make sure your smoke alarms work. Mister Sparky encourages test it, clean out any dust and check the batteries. Test your alarm every month and never disconnect the batteries.
2. Keep live trees away from heat sources.
Place your tree away from fireplaces and heaters and keep a fire extinguisher near your tree. Live trees are highly flammable, due to needles and sap.
3. Hydrate your tree.
Dry trees can be a fire hazard when wrapped with holiday lights. Check the water level every other day to ensure proper hydration. Starting with a green tree is one way to keep it from drying out so quickly.
4. Fake it!
If you buy an artificial tree, make sure it’s labeled “fire resistant.” Fire-resistant trees are less susceptible to catching fire.
5. Work as a team.
When stringing lights and decorations above your normal reach, make sure you use a proper ladder with someone supporting the base.
6. Double-check your lights for safety.
Replace any lights if you see frayed wires, broken sockets, and loose connections. Make sure not to overload your lights by connecting too many sets together. Read the instructions to make sure. Different lights have different manufacturers and different requirements.
7. Power down before you turn in.
So important to turn off all lights when you go to bed and or before leaving the house to avoid a short that could start an electrical fire.
8. Prevent electrical cord damage.
Don’t mount lights in a way that might damage the cords. Avoid using nails or tacks. Use hooks or insulated staples instead.
9. Secure candles.
Keep candles on a sturdy base to prevent tipping. Never leave a lit candle unattended. It is also recommended not to put candles on Christmas trees. Even though this is an old tradition
10. Beware of beautiful yet poisonous plants.
While festive, poinsettias are very poisonous when eaten, so keep them out of reach of kids and pets.