Did you know that two of every five home decoration fires are started by candles? Or that nearly half of decoration fires happen because decorations are placed too close to a heat source?
The staff at the National Electrical Contractors Association knows that winter holidays are a time for families and friends to get together, but that also means a greater risk for fire. Following a few simple tips from the National Fire Protection Association will ensure a happy and fire-safe holiday season:
- Be careful with holiday decorations. Choose decorations that are flame resistant or flame retardant.
- Keep lit candles away from decorations and other things that can burn.
- Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use, but not both.
- Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. Read manufacturer’s instructions for number of light strands to connect.
- Use clips, not nails, to hang lights so the cords do not get damaged.
- Keep decorations away from windows and doors.
- Test your smoke alarms and CO detectors and tell guests about your home fire escape plan.
- Keep children and pets away from lit candles.
- Keep matches and lighters up high in a locked cabinet.
- Stay in the kitchen when cooking on the stovetop.
- Ask smokers to smoke outside. Remind smokers to keep their smoking materials with them so young children do not touch them.
- Provide large, deep ashtrays for smokers. Wet cigarette butts with water before discarding.
Finally, it’s always important to remember to blow out lit candles when you leave the room or go to bed and turn off all light strings and decorations before leaving home or going to bed.
For more information from NFPA, go to www.nfpa.org/education.
For additional resources, the Electrical Safety Foundation International has created a list of the top 10 holiday safety tips, which can be read at http://www.esfi.org/resource/top-10-holiday-safety-tips-337.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also put together a list of holiday health and safety tips (https://www.cdc.gov/family/holiday) and even wrote a neat song about it to the tune of The Twelve Days of Christmas (hear it at https://www.cdc.gov/family/holiday/12ways.htm).