PROTECTION PLUS ® Top Ten Holiday Fire Safety Tips
As a Security and Life Safety Company, we know that Fire Safety is important 365 days a year. However, in December we do see an unfortunate spike in home fires. So what steps can you take to ensure your home and family reduces your risk of a fire? Check out our top 10 fire safety tips below!
1. Wood burning fireplaces and wood stoves represent an increased risk and require extra maintenance and caution. Before lighting your first fire of the season you should check for any blockages, such as bird’s nests etc. Chimneys and flues should be cleaned and inspected regularly to prevent chimney fires and any smoke and gases from escaping into the house. Always use well-seasoned wood, fires should not be left unattended, and protective measures to prevent young children from burns should be implemented.
2. Portable heaters are often brought into service to temporarily warm up specific rooms or garages etc. Refrain from using extension cords with heaters, and ensure the heaters are in good working order, and clear of anything that could fall on them. If in doubt…throw it out. Never use heaters designed for outdoors or a gas barbecue to heat an indoor space. It’s not only a fire hazard but also a Carbon Monoxide poisoning hazard.
3. The holiday season sees extension cords pressed into service for all kinds of applications…often to use with Christmas lights etc. Always ensure the cords are CSA approved and in good condition, with no nicks or cuts. Never overburden extension cords with multiple devices plugged in, and never run extension cords under carpets or any under any flammable items.
4. It’s the time of year for decorations! Many originate from dollar stores or school craft sessions and are highly flammable. Make sure they are well secured and away from any potential ignition source.
5. In December there are many holiday celebrations, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Christmas and more. Candles are a big part of many celebrations. Of course anytime there is an open flame your fire risk rises exponentially. Extreme diligence is required anytime candles are used. They should be good quality, and in secure holders. They should also be placed well out of reach of children and pets, and should not be placed on furniture that is not secured. If you are leaving the room, extinguish the candles. Never use real candles on Christmas trees.
6. The desire for an authentic Christmas often means the annual ritual of using a real evergreen as a Christmas tree in your home. The older and drier a Christmas tree becomes the higher the fire threat. If you must have a “real tree” rather than one of the much safer artificial trees make sure you use extra caution. Keep the tree well hydrated with a water tray, make sure the tree is also secured to the wall or ceiling, don’t rely solely on a tree stand to keep it upright. Don’t leave the Christmas lights on when you are not in the room. Be sure to locate the tree clear of any fireplaces, heaters or ignition sources.
7. Holidays also mean plenty of company and big dinners. Many fires originate in a home’s kitchen. When we are distracted the risk is higher. A key to safety in the kitchen is asking for help, so you have an extra set of eyes and ears. An unattended pot or frying pan left on a hot stove can quickly ignite. Check and double check that your stove and oven are OFF when you are out of the kitchen, and make sure you have a working fire extinguisher close at hand.
8. Have a fire escape plan and practice it twice a year with your family. Decide on a safe meeting place, like a neighbour’s house, corner store, etc. This is where everyone should meet in the event of a fire. If a fire occurs in your home, GET OUT, STAY OUT and CALL FOR HELP. Never go back inside for anything or anyone.
9. Every home is filled with valuables, however some items you should consider adding fire protection. Either invest in a fire rated safe for your difficult to replace documents and heirlooms, or invest in a safety deposit box with your bank.
10. Children are naturally curious, and with a home filled with new decorations the temptations are great. We know you are busy but make sure you don’t leave lighters and matches out when you light candles. Don’t leave young children unattended with lit candles. The best safety tool is education. Teach your kids about fire safety and the devastating effects a fire can have on a family.
It’s a very busy time of year for most of us, but safety should never take a back seat. Make sure your smoke detectors are ALL in good working order, and that your alarm monitoring call list is up to date with your alarm company. A safe holiday makes for a happy holiday season!