Decorate Safely This Holiday Season
Holiday decorations are a great part of the holiday season, and putting them up is a great way to get the whole family involved. However, it’s important that all of your decorations are safe and flame-resistant this winter.
In the case of a fire, flames can spread quickly between wreaths, bows, and other holiday decorations. Always use non-flammable or flame-retardant decorations around the house. Keep decorations away from heat sources, such as fireplaces, hot vents, and candles.
Before hanging lights on your house, check the wires for frayed points or abnormal wear and tear. Never link more than three chains of lights together, as that can increase the risk of fire.
Candle fires are a major problem during the holiday season. U.S. fire departments respond to more than 10,000 candle-related home fires every year, which cause an average of 115 fatalities and 900 injuries annually. With approximately 29 home candle fires reported every day, these fires cause more than $400 million in property damage every year. First of all, never burn candles in the bedroom or another place where you could fall asleep; more than one-third of home candle fires start in the bedroom, and these fires cause 39 percent of all candle-related fire deaths.
Decorations and candles can be a deadly combination. During the month of December, 11 percent of candle fires begin with decorations, compared to 4 percent the rest of the year. Mattresses, bedding, furniture, and curtains or drapes continue to be the most dangerous flammable objects to have near candles, accounting for more than one-third of candle fires.
Always make sure to blow out candles before leaving the room or leaving the house. Consider using an electric candle, which looks and smells like a real candle but does not carry the serious fire risk of a regular candle.
Christmas tree fires are not nearly as common as candle fires, but when they do occur, they tend to be more serious than other types of fires. According to data from the U.S. Fire Administration, one out of every 40 tree fires results in a fatality, compared to an average of one in 142 for all home fires.
If using a real tree for the holidays, make sure to water it every day to keep it from being dry. A dry tree will catch fire much more quickly than a well-watered tree, leading to a more serious fire. In addition, make sure to keep the tree away from any heat sources or exits; a tree placed too close to a heat source is the cause for one in every six tree fires. Keep trees at least three feet away from fireplaces, radiators, space heaters, candles, or heat vents. Get rid of your tree as soon as the holidays are over or as soon as the tree becomes dry.