Tis the season, and with that season comes a marked increase in home fires. In fact, according to the National Fire Protection Association, the number of home fires peaks in December and January, mostly attributed to hazards associated with celebrating the winter holidays. Keep your loved ones safe the holiday season by following these holiday fire safety tips.
Holiday Cooking Safety Tips
Thanksgiving is the peak day, throughout the entire year, for cooking fires. In 2017, fire departments across the U.S. responded to 1,600 cooking fires. Considering we gather on Thanksgiving to enjoy a great feast, this makes sense, especially when accounting for fires caused by turkey fryers. But even with exploding turkey fryers, the main cause of cooking fires is unattended cooking. Stay safe this holiday season by following these simple cooking safety tips:
- To avoid exploding turkey fryers, first ensure the bird is completely thawed before lowering it into the oil. Ensure the oil in the fryer does not exceed the maximum level. Remember, the oil will rise significantly once the bird is in the fryer. Never use turkey fryers indoors – position them on solid ground no less than 10 feet away from the house.
- Do not leave the kitchen while food is still cooking. Unattended food can quickly overflow the pan and cause a grease fire, which will grow quickly and be difficult to control.
- Keep all flammable items – hand towels, pot holders, food packaging as well as butter and oil – away from heat sources.
- Keep a fully-charged kitchen fire extinguisher rated for all types of fires in the kitchen in an easily accessible location.
Candle Safety Tips
As pretty as they are, candles account for 57% of home decoration fires during the holiday season. They are easily forgotten about and tipped over in all the merry-making. During a time of year when the home is filled with a higher than average amount of flammable materials – like wrapped presents and holiday decorations – the flames from a tipped candle easily find something to burn and quickly get out of hand.
- Keep all candles, even those claiming to be “untippable,” at least 12 inches away from anything that can burn, placed on a sturdy surface. Covering candles with a hurricane globe can also prevent flames from wandering to a flammable surface in the event of a breeze.
- Keep candles out of the reach of children or pets who can inadvertently tip them over. Be especially mindful of your curious felines who may jump up to high surfaces and knock a flame to the floor.
- Never leave candles unattended. Double check that all candles have been extinguished anytime you leave the home or go to bed.
- Consider a safer alternative to live flames and switch to LED flameless candles. They look like the real thing, and sometimes are even scented. Flameless candles can also be set to a daily timer.
Holiday Decoration Safety Tips
Holiday decoration fires, including those caused by Christmas trees, are some of the deadliest of all fires. This is not surprising when you consider that a dried-out Christmas tree can become completely engulfed in flames in a matter of seconds. Electrical fires caused by frayed or improperly installed holiday lights account for another significant portion of these deadly fires. By taking preventative measures to avoid these fires, you can still enjoy a festive holiday season.
- If using a live tree, be sure it is freshly cut, with green needles that do not fall off when touched. Cut the trunk at a 45-degree angle before placing it in the tree stand. Water daily.
- Keep the tree and other greenery at least three feet away from any heat source, including heating vents. These will not only dry out the tree faster but can also cause the tree to ignite if it becomes dry.
- Remove the tree from the home as soon as it dries out.
- Make sure to use appropriate holiday lights, paying careful attention they are rated for the use you intend. Some lights are rated for indoor or outdoor use, not both. Ensure all your lights and extension cords are UL-rated.
- Test outdoor lights before hanging them to make sure their ground fault interrupters do not trip the circuit breaker. If they do, throw the strands away so you don’t risk an electrical fire by using them in the future.
Keep you and your loved ones safe this season by following our holiday fire safety tips. From all of us at Aapex Construction & Restoration we wish you and yours a wonderful holiday season.