With the holiday season comes lights, candles, greenery, and other cheery decorations. But unfortunately, all these festive items in your home can pose an added fire hazard. Add in extra cooking and baking this time of year, and it is easy to see why December is one of the most common months for house fires to take place.
Understand some of the leading causes of house fires during the holidays and how to prevent them to enjoy a safe, happy holiday.
1. Christmas Trees
One of the deadliest types of fires that occurs during the holiday season involves live Christmas trees. If they are not properly watered and allowed to dry out, indoor trees can easily ignite, going up in flames in a matter of seconds.
To avoid Christmas tree fires:
- Always make sure your tree is properly watered.
- Check for and remedy electrical issues and broken bulbs when hanging lights on the tree.
- Remove heat sources in close proximity to the tree.
- Unplug your tree when you are not home and overnight.
2. Electrical Malfunctions
When stringing lights outdoors, make sure all lights, extension cords, and other electrical wires are labeled specifically for outdoor use. And be sure to use UL-rated clips when hanging up lights on your home – avoid using regular staples or nails.
Other important tips to prevent fires caused by electrical problems include:
- Never connect multiple extension cords together.
- Do not run more than three strands of lights end-to-end.
- Check for and discard frayed wires and broken bulbs.
Candles are a fire hazard all year-round, but more people tend to light them inside their homes over the holidays. Place lit candles on the stovetop or in another area that is a safe distance away from your Christmas tree, greenery, and other flammable decorations.
Never leave candles lit while you are not home or otherwise not able to attend them.
4. Unattended Stoves
It is all too easy to become distracted while whipping up a holiday feast in the kitchen. However, unattended food on the stove is one of the leading causes of house fires, especially over the holidays. Never leave cooking equipment unattended, and double-check that you’ve turned off the burners and oven when you’re finished.
One last fire safety tip: check your smoke detectors. They save lives!
Wishing everyone a safe and happy holiday season!