The winter months are full of fun holiday celebrations. The United States Fire Association claims that there are around 20 times as many structural fires during an average winter day than during the summer. These winter fires are often more severe than those in summer. If Chistmas trees and decorations are involved, there are five times as many fatalities and twice the injuries when compared to other fires. Fires spread rapidly through materials commonly used in holiday decoration, like paper and fabric.
Whether your family celebrates Diwali or Christmas, Chanukah or Kwanzaa, Thanksgiving or New Year’s, or all of them, there are plenty of hidden fire dangers that you should be aware of. Remember the following precautions so you can enjoy your holiday celebrations, safely connecting with family and friends.
- Try to use fireworks in safe areas like empty parking lots.
- Avoid dry fields of grass and crowds. parking lots and safe areas.
- Maintain a safe distance from the fireworks.
- Inspect the area when you are done. Check for smoldering materials, especially on nearby roofs and in grass.
- Turn off ovens and stoves when you leave the home.
- Avoid stringing more than three strands of decorative lights together.
- Avoid overloading outlets, especially in older homes.
- Don’t leave burning candles unattended.
- Keep candles far from the edges of tables and shelves.
- Teach older children fire safety, and keep young children and pets away from candles.
- Use the correct sized holders to prevent candles from tipping over.
- Keep candles far away from flammable items like curtains and paper.
- Turn off heaters when you are sleeping or away from home.
- Stay at least feet from flammable materials like paper and curtains.
- Consider buying a newer model that turns off when overheated or tipped over.
- Have a professional conduct a chimney and fireplace inspection each year.
- Do not leave fires unattended. Extinguish before going to sleep or leaving.
- Keep flammable materials like curtains and decor three feet or more form the fire.
- Fireproof rugs and mesh screens can prevent stray embers from igniting.
- Dry trees are more likely to catch fire so water daily and get rid of them after the holiday.
- Keep trees at least three feet from fireplaces, space heaters, and candles.
- Check your lights. Replace any that get too hot or have frayed wiring.
- Don’t use lights rated for outside on the inside.
- Keep lights from contacting flammable materials.
- Check lights and replace any with cords that are damaged or frayed. Replace broken bulbs.
- Don’t link together strands of non-LED and LED lights.
- Smoke detectors save lives.
- Alarms should be in every bedroom and on every level.
- Check the batteries regularly, as recommended by the manufacturer.
- Create a family fire plan.
The winter holidays are a great time to celebrate with friends and family. At LaPointe Construction, we want you to enjoy your celebrations without having to call on us. Taking a few basic precautions can mean the difference between cleaning up used wrapping paper and cleaning up after a fire.