With winter right around the corner, we want to remind everyone about the importance of practicing fire safety in the home. Did you know that home fires occur more in winter than in any other season? In fact, nearly half of home fires occur in December, January and February, most of which are caused by heating equipment. Fortunately, there are preventative measures to keep you and your family safe and warm for the winter months.
- Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from any heat source, including fireplaces, furnaces, space heaters and radiators.
- Only plug one heat-producing appliance, like a space heater, into an outlet at a time.
- Make sure all space heaters are placed away from flammable objects and are turned off when leaving the house or going to bed. Try to find space heaters with an automatic shut-off in case they tip over.
- Have a qualified professional inspect and clean your chimney and vents every year to clear dust and debris.
- Store cooled ashes from fireplaces in a tightly covered metal container outside at least 10 feet away from your house and other structures.
Along with heating equipment, holiday decorations are another common cause of home fires during the winter months. Some of our favorite holiday traditions can also create opportunities for a fire to start unexpectedly. Common holiday fire hazards include decorative lights on flammable objects like Christmas Trees, unattended cooking and open-flame candles. Last December 1 in 5 home fires were caused by holiday decorations, nearly 45% of which were caused by candles.
To help you and your family enjoy the upcoming festivities, follow these tips to ensure a happy and fire-safe holiday season:
- Inspect holiday lights each year before you put them up. Throw away light strands with frayed or exposed wires or any broken bulbs. Also check your light strands to see if they are for indoor or outdoor use before hanging them up.
- Consider using battery-operated flameless candles. If you do use lit candles, make sure they are in stable holders, far away from decorations and other flammable materials and are watched closely by everyone in the house.
- Always unplug holiday lights and blow out any candles before leaving your home or going to bed.
- Only use decorations that are flame-retardant or not flammable. Place decorations away from open flames or lights.
- Make sure your Christmas tree is at least three feet away from any heat source, including fireplaces, radiators and candles. Water your tree daily to keep it from drying out and pick up any dry pine needles off the floor.