The holidays are a special time filled with celebrations, family, and traditions. But without the proper precautions, those special traditions introduce special dangers. These tips will help keep your holidays happy and safe.
Christmas Tree Safety
Christmas trees are a great tradition, but they can also become a major fire hazard.
- Always keep the tree well watered. A dried-out Christmas tree is a big fire risk. Dried pine needles are great kindling and a single spark could ignite the whole tree. Water the tree at least once per day and check to make sure it’s taking up the water.
- Use nonflammable decorations. Everything you put on the tree should be non-flammable. If your tree does catch fire, nonflammable ornaments help stop it from spreading.
- Place the tree away from heat sources. Don’t put the tree near baseboard heaters, fireplaces, or any other heat source.
Along with the tree come the lights. Also a great tradition, but only when used properly and kept in good repair.
- Check the wires every year before you put the lights up. Damaged or broken wires are very dangerous, especially when they’re going on a tree. We recommend untangling the wires and stretching them out across the floor or another flat surface. Then, inspect the whole strand to make sure there is no damage. Once that’s done, you can plug the lights into the wall and check for burnt out bulbs at the same time. It’s an easy way to take care of all your light maintenance at once.
- Never plug an extension cord into an extension cord. Plug a single extension cord into the wall, and then plug lights into that. Don’t plug one extension cord into another extension cord, and avoid plugging multiple cords into the same outlet.
- Don’t leave lights on unattended. When you leave, turn off the lights.
A fireplace sets the mood and keeps the room cozy, but when it isn’t properly maintained or safety procedures aren’t followed, it becomes a hazard.
- Have the fireplace and chimney cleaned and inspected once a year. This step is important whether you use your fireplace regularly or just once a year.
- Keep the area around the fireplace clean. This area needs to be free of debris, especially anything flammable. The walls and floors around the fireplace should made of (or covered with) a fire-resistant material like stone or metal.
- Keep the mesh screen closed at all times. The mesh screen helps keep embers from escaping the fireplace. If your fireplace does not have a mesh screen, buy one and use it.
Christmas Day, Christmas Eve, and New Year’s Day are the top three days for home candle fires. Proper safety is a must.
- Consider battery operated candles. Nowadays they look great, are very realistic and much safer than an open flame.
- Place candles on sturdy, flame resistant bases. Metal, glass, and ceramic holders are all good choices. The bases should be wide, sturdy and difficult to knock over.
- Never leave candles unattended. If you leave the room, always blow out the candle.
- Never burn a candle overnight. Extinguish all candles in every room before you go to bed.
- Keep candles at least 12 inches from anything that can burn. Drapes, bed sheets, furniture, even certain types of wood become fire hazards when near a candle. Give the flame at least 12 inches of space.
- Don’t put candles in the window. If you want the look for your holiday décor, there are a lot of electric candle options.