Along with the holidays come social gatherings, home cooking and elaborate decorative displays. But the season also comes with an uptick in house fires and other fire-related safety incidents.
While cooking is the leading cause of house fires, holiday decorations cause countless fires each year as well.
How can you avoid fire hazards this holiday season?
1. Cook responsibly.
Cooking is responsible for 49% of house fires this time of year. Keep flammable items (e.g., grocery bags) clear of stoves, ovens and fryers, and never leave cooking unattended.
Fully thaw frozen turkey before placing it in a deep fryer to reduce the likelihood of oil spillage and fire. Clean up greasy spills immediately, and learn how to properly extinguish grease fires.
2. Take care when displaying holiday trees.
Select freshly cut trees that still have their natural moisture. Older, drier trees, usually identifiable by the excess shedding of needles, are more susceptible to fire. Display holiday trees safely away from heat sources, and check regularly to be sure your tree has enough water to prevent drying.
3. Check decorative lights for damage.
Inspect cords for frays, cracks and loose connections that could pose a safety hazard and discard any damaged electrical decorations if necessary. Never leave decorative lights on unattended, and avoid daisy-chaining multiple extensions and overloading wall sockets.
4. Practice candle safety.
Burning candles should be placed well away from flammable items, including holiday trees, curtains and furniture — 12 to 36 inches of clearance on all sides is ideal. Always display candles on nonflammable surfaces and extinguish flames before leaving the room.
5. Keep at least one fire extinguisher on hand.
Fire extinguishers should be:
- Easily accessible by all members of the household.
- Stored near fire-prone areas (e.g., kitchens) for quick retrieval.
- Inspected regularly to ensure proper operation.
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