Mmmmmm, eggnog and sponge cakes! Do not let goodies distract you from putting up decorations. Your giant, inflatable Rudolph will look great next to Darth Vader. The reindeer’s nose matches the Sith lord’s lightsaber, but you can avoid the wrong shade of red with these holiday fire prevention tips.
Thanksgiving is the only day with more reported house fires than Christmas and Christmas Eve. (Source: National Fire Protection Agency [NFPA])
Start in the kitchen
How long should you cook the ham? Does the chocolate pie filling need more sugar?
You can get lost in a maze of recipes. If you have food in the oven, do not leave your house.
You are considering folding laundry in another room, but do not step out of the kitchen when the burners are on.
Keep your stove and oven clean and free of grease buildup as well. You might say, “Well, the oven̵7;s self-cleaning function does not work properly, and it smells awful.”
We hear that.
It is easy to clean your oven with nothing more than:
- A wet dishcloth or cloth
- A plastic spatula
- Rubber gloves
- A spray bottle
- white vinegar
Visit the kitchen for more information on this simple cleaning process.
Do not use branch outlets or extension cords for large appliances such as your oven. Plug them directly into the wall and leave small appliances disconnected when not in use.
Accidents happen, even when you pay attention and take the right steps. This is why you should keep a fire extinguisher in your kitchen.
Do not store it in a place near the oven as this is where most fires start. Remember to store it in an easily accessible cabinet.
When a fire breaks out, get your fire extinguisher and use the US Fire Department’s PASS method:
- Pull the pin. Aim the extinguisher away from you and pull on the locking pin.
- Purpose. Aim the extinguisher at the base of the fire.
- Press. Press the lever to activate the fire extinguisher.
- Sweep. Spray the extinguisher in a side-to-side motion to cover the base of the fire.
Between 2013 and 2017, American fire brigades responded to an average of 780 annual home fires that began with decorations. (Source: NFPA)
Let the living room shine in security
Think of all the decorations you can use to decorate your living room:
Do not let these beautiful decorations turn into fire hazards. Keep them at least three meters away from fireplaces and heaters.
Turn off the room heater when leaving the room.
Do not run electrical cables under carpets or overload circuits or extension cords, power strips, and outlets.
Between 2013 and 2017, US fire brigades responded to an annual average of 160 home fires that began with Christmas trees. (Source: NFPA)
Your tree must drink (unless it is fake)
Consider the main conditions that cause forest fires:
- Dry vegetation
- People: A single match can ignite a flame that destroys thousands of acres.
So why would you take a real tree home, set it up in your living room and let it dry?
Water your tree! And while you’re at it, keep it at least three feet away from heat sources.
Always unplug the lights before leaving your house or going to sleep, and discard worn and pinched cables.
But what about fake trees?
You may want to avoid pre-lit trees as wires can become poor and cause fire.
If you choose a “normal” fake tree, make sure you buy one that is not flammable. The box should have this information.
22 home light fires occurred every day from 2013 to 2017. (Source: NFPA)
Odds and ends around the house
Here are some more tips to keep your home safer during the holiday season:
- Real candles look good, but they do not make safe decorations.
- Consider replacing traditional lights with LED lights.
- Keep matches and lighters in a safe place, especially if you have children.
- If you smoke, do it outside the home. Or stop completely as a gift to yourself.
- Place smoke detectors on every level of your home, including the basement, every bedroom and hallways at those bedrooms
- Install carbon monoxide detectors on each level of the house, located five feet off the ground and close to each sleeping area.
- Have your oven inspected twice a year. One of these inspections should take place in the fall to prepare the system for winter.