How To Avoid House Fires From Holiday Decorations
December is an exciting time of year when everyone is feeling festive and decorating their homes and businesses with Christmas and Hanukkah decorations. It is important to remember that holiday decorations can increase your risk for a home fire. As you deck the halls and trim the tree this year, make sure you are being fire smart.
Did you know that over fifty percent of home decoration related fires in December are caused by candles? If candles are part of your decoration plans this year, consider switching to battery operated candles; They're safer and you can even set them to turn on with a timer! If you like lighting candles for the smell and ambiance, be sure to always be attentive to the flame and never leave a candle on when you sleep or leave the house. If you need candles for your menorah or candelabra, make sure you keep the candles at leas 12 inches away from anything that can burn.
Christmas tree fires are not particularly common, but they are incredibly dangerous when they do occur. On average, 1 out of every 45 home fires caused by Christmas trees resulted in death. To avoid Christmas tree fires you should start by picking a fresh looking tree. Older, dried out trees are at a higher risk for fire. Once you bring the tree home, make sure you keep it watered (TIP: If you shake the tree and a lot of needles fall out, that may be a sign the tree isn't getting enough water). Also keep the tree at least 3 feet away from any heat source, including fireplaces, radiators, space heaters, or heat vents. You should also check for faulty lights that could potentially ignite the tree, and turn off the lights when you aren't around to keep an eye on the tree.
In addition to checking the lights on your Christmas tree, you should also be checking all of the lights you put around your home, inside and outside. LED lights are typically safe and won't get too hot, however incandescent Christmas lights can get hot enough to burn or ignite other decorations. Be mindful of where you place your Christmas lights - never place Christmas lights on a metal tree or other metal decorations as they can become charged with electricity and could shock someone. If you are putting Christmas lights outdoors, double check the package and make sure that they are outdoor lights (it should be clearly marked on the packaging). The same goes for extension cords - never use indoor extension cords outside, and be sure not to overload extension cords because they can also get hot enough to burn.
Holiday decorations are typically safe, but it is important to take these aforementioned safety measures to have a safe and happy holiday season.