Many warm memories come to mind when picturing the winter holidays, but it’s best to avoid letting things get too hot; after all, unattended chestnuts on an open fire could lead to disastrous consequences.
Use our list (and check it twice) to make sure your holidays are fireproofed and accident-free:
1. All Around the House
FIRE ALARMS: All fire alarms should be tested every month and completely replaced every 10 years. Check that each alarm in your home has fresh batteries.
FIRE EXTINGUISHER: Get one, store it in an easily accessible place, and make sure you know how to use it! When using a Fire Extinguisher always remember to P.A.S.S. which stands for Pull Aim Squeeze Sweep.
2. Holiday Cooking
MIND THE STOVE: Roll up your sleeves and keep anything flammable away from the burners. Never leave cooking food unattended. If you’ve had one too many eggnogs, wait to cook until you have sobered up.
SET OVEN TIMERS AND ALARMS: Burnt cookies are disappointing, but smoke-filled kitchens and fires in ovens are worse – set alarms on your phone or use a kitchen timer to avoid overcooking.
3. For the Kids
SAFETY 101: Make sure your children know how and when to call 911, how to stop, drop and roll, and what to do if they smell smoke or see a fire in your home.
4. Holiday Lights
DON’T OVERLOAD OUTLETS OR EXTENSIONS: Each home has different limits when it comes to electricity. Use this guide to determine how many watts your home can handle. Use power strips with built-in circuit breakers rather than your wall outlet, and avoid overheating lights by plugging in no more than THREE sets to a single extension cord.
USE ONLY OUTDOOR LIGHTS OUTDOORS: Indoor lights do not have insulation, which makes them vulnerable to the elements and more likely to become a fire hazard or blow a fuse.
CHECK LIGHT QUALITY: Check that your lights have been lab-tested for safety, and throw away any with damaged or exposed wires.
GIVE ‘EM A BREAK: Glittering lights past bedtime might make for a lovely winter scene, but leaving lights on too long may cause them to overheat. Turn off your decorative lights every night before bed and any time you leave the house.
5. ‘Round the Tree
REAL TREES: Dry trees are a huge fire hazard, so be sure to select freshly cut trees with flexible branches and firm needles. Make sure the tree is secured in your tree stand to avoid unexpected falls and water it frequently. Once the needles begin to shed, it’s dried out and time to remove from your home. Do not burn your tree – these fires are hard to control, and pine and fir trees produce excess tar that can clog your chimney and lead to accidents later.
ARTIFICIAL TREES: Although many artificial trees are advertised as flame retardant or resistant, they can still succumb to fires. Don’t overload your artificial tree with electric lights, and replace any pre-lit trees with exposed wires.
6. Keeping Cozy
FIREPLACE: Keep a carbon monoxide detector in your fireplace room, don’t leave your fire unattended, and use a safety gate to prevent pets and children from getting too close to the flames. Use a mesh screen to keep embers from entering the room while a fire is burning. Dampen the cooled ashes in a metal container and store outside of your house until garbage day.
KEEP HEATERS CLEAR: Do not store items on top of space heaters or heating vents. Not only does this prevent fires, but it keeps your valuables safe from unwanted melting and scorch marks!
USE CANDLES SAFELY: Never leave a burning candle unattended! Keep lit candles away from other flammable objects, and out of reach from children and pets.
Preparing for emergencies ahead of time can help keep your home merry and bright this holiday season. Contact the experts at Allegiant Fire Protection for more information on fire and safety services.