The holidays are here again. It's time for strands of lights, decorated trees, and your favorite seasonal treats.
If you're planning on cooking, decorating your home, or building a fire in the fireplace this year, please be mindful of fire safety. Each year, holiday season fires injure 2,000 individuals and cause more than $500 million in damage.
Here are five tips to help you have a safe season with your family:
- Trees: Select a fresh tree. Make sure the needles are green and hard to pull from the branch. Bounce the tree on the ground before buying. If the needles fall off, it may be a fire hazard. Place your tree away from any heat sources and keep the stand filled with water at all times. When you're done with your tree, dispose of it properly by having it recycled or hauled away by a community pick up service.
- Lights: Inspect your lights every year to ensure there are no frays, bare spots, or holes in the insulation. Do not overload outlets with light strands. Do not link more than three strands unless the directions specify that it's safe. Finally, do not leave your lights unattended while they are on.
- Fireplaces: Have your chimney and fireplace cleaned yearly to remove creosote buildup. Never burn wrapping paper, packing materials, or trash because these items can produce toxic gases. Burn only seasoned wood and always use a screen to prevent sparks from entering your home. Always wait until the ashes are cool before removing them from your fireplace. Dispose of them in a non-combustible container.
- Candles: December is the peak month for candle-related fire incidents. Do not use lit candles to decorate your tree. Also keep candles well away from flammable decorations, curtains or substances. Never leave candles unattended or within the reach of children and always extinguish all candles before you leave the room or sleep.
- Cooking: Unattended cooking is the leading cause of home fires in the U.S. Do not leave your stove unattended. If you must leave the room while cooking, set a timer or carry a pot holder to remind you that food is cooking. If you are using a turkey fryer, use extreme caution. Always use fryers outdoors on flat surfaces and monitor the temperature constantly. Always completely thaw your turkey before frying and be careful with marinades.