Cozy chimney fires, flickering candles and lights, an active kitchen and decorations all around are all signs of the holiday season. They also increase the chance of home fires, easily changing the celebration to a devastation.
According to the NFPA, candles are responsible for the most fires during Christmas, New Year’s Eve and Day. In addition, improper distribution of lighting equipment was involved in 40% of Christmas tree fires.
Although these can become fire hazards, there are safe ways to enjoy the holidays and still have the festive decorations. The key is to find the hazards and prevent them.
1. A dry Christmas tree
We know you can’t celebrate Christmas without a Christmas tree. However, it is important to pick a fresh tree and constantly hydrate it. Christmas trees are responsible for approximately $13 million in property damage, largely due to a dry tree being near a heat source. A hydrated tree decorated with Christmas lights is safe. A dry tree is not, so get to watering!
December is full of cultural holidays, particularly Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, that include candles as part of the celebration. From 2009-2013, more than half of candle fires reported in the U.S. were caused after a candle was near a combustible material. Place candles at least a foot away from anything that can burn, especially trees, wreaths, garlands, inflatables, figurines, presents, stockings, curtains and other fabrics, and far from high traffic areas where children and pets run and play.
3. Electric safety
When using Christmas lights, confirm you are utilizing indoor and/or outdoor lights and placing them in their appropriate area. The lights should be approved by the UL, ETL/ITSNA or any other independent laboratory for safety testing. Check your lights for any loose wires or bulbs. Secure all cords and don’t connect too many lights together at once or all to one outlet. Most importantly, just like candles, lights should be supervised. Therefore, always shut off your lights before going to sleep or leaving your home.
The holiday season is a popular time for home cooking. As we spend time with our loved ones, it is easy to forget the running stove and oven. Stay alert and frequently visit the kitchen while making your meals. Try to have children and pets away from the kitchen to limit accidents. In addition, place flammable objects, such as oven mitts, towels or wooden utensils, away from the cooking area.
All fireworks, including sparklers, should only be lit outdoors, in an open area and pointed towards a clear direction to the sky. Only responsible adults that are not under the influence should be handling fireworks. “Duds” should never be relit and all used or defective fireworks should be soaked in a bucket of water before being discarded.
Don’t let tragedy be a part of your holiday season. Take the right precautions to enjoy a safe and festive celebration. For an extra step of security, contact us today. Whether you are a business or homeowner, we can help with any insurances you need.
The Insurance Solutions of America team wishes everyone a happy and safe holiday season!