As Christmas draws near, most families will be decorating for the holidays. Trees, lights, wreaths, and other holiday décor will be abundant in the Marietta community throughout the next few weeks. In addition, many holiday meals will be prepared this holiday season. For many, Christmas is one of the most exciting times of year!
While decorations and holiday meals make the winter holiday season exciting and festive, they can each be dangerous as well. With the exception of Thanksgiving, more fires are reported on Christmas Day than any other day of the year. The number one cause of fires during the holidays is cooking, with heating, Christmas trees, and décor following close behind. On average, fire departments respond to 230 home fires each year that started with Christmas trees. 6 deaths and 22 injuries were reported from 2007-2011 Christmas tree fires, as well as $18.3 million in direct property damage. These numbers as staggering and cause us to take a closer look at holiday safety tips.
As you are decorating or cooking a holiday meal this Christmas, keep these Christmas safety tips in mind:
- Ensure your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working properly. Smoke alarms should be located on each level of your home, as well as outside all bedrooms.
- Practice your home fire escape plan with your entire family. This should include 2 methods of exit and a common meeting place outside your home in the event of a house fire.
- Never leave your cooking unattended, as this is the most common cause of kitchen fires. Always remain close to cooking food so that if a fire does start, you will be able to smother the flames and turn the heat off.
- When selecting a Christmas tree, make sure that it is as fresh as possible. When selecting a location in your home for the tree, make sure it is away from fireplaces, heaters, and candles. Once the Christmas tree is placed in your home, it should be watered daily to prevent the needles from becoming too dry. Dry trees catch fire and ignite much quicker and aggressively than well-maintained and moist trees, as illustrated in this video from the U.S. Fire Administration.
- Indoor lights should be approved by a testing agency. LED lights use less electricity and are cooler than others, so you may want to consider switching to these.
- Outdoor decorations: use only lights that are meant to be used outdoors and avoid using nails, staples, or tacks through the wiring of the lights to hand them.
- When hanging decorations, have someone hold the ladder so that falls are prevented.
- Turn off all lights and other Christmas décor before leaving the house or going to bed at night.
- Candles should have a one-foot diameter surrounding them where no other items are located in an effort to avoid fires. They should also be extinguished prior to leaving the room.
- Space heaters should be placed a minimum of three feet from anything that is able to catch fire, such as upholstery, curtains, Christmas trees, and other holiday decorations.
Jones & Swanson wishes you and your loved ones a safe and happy holiday season.