The holiday season is a time of joy, togetherness, and celebration. Homes are adorned with twinkling lights, candles, and cozy fires, creating a magical atmosphere. The winter holidays can be the busiest time of year for many households. Kids are excited, the days are short and there seems to be a never-ending list of things to get done. Amongst all the excitement, it’s important to make time to review basic holiday fire safety. To keep yourself, your home, and your loved ones safe this holiday season, use these holiday safety tips from the fire restoration experts at ServiceMaster Restore.
Christmas Tree Safety. Live trees need to be fresh and stay fresh until removed from your home. Look for a tree with needles that pull back easily from the branches but don't break. Tap your tree on the ground. If it sheds a ton of needles, it's not fresh.
- Keep a freshly cut tree watered so it doesn't dry out and become a fire hazard.
- Never place your Christmas tree near a fireplace, wood burning stove or other open flame.
- Christmas trees should not block doorways or exit routes, in case of a fire.
- Only buy fire-resistant artificial trees.
- Never use more than three sets of light strands per one extension cord.
- Check all extension cords for damage or fraying; don't overload a single electrical outlet.
- If you're going to be away from home, turn off the Christmas tree lights and consider unplugging all non-essential electronics and appliances.
- Keep lit candle displays at least three feet away from the tree.
Choose Safe Decorations. The allure of holiday lights and decorations is undeniable, but safety should always come first. When decorating your home:
- Use LED lights, which emit less heat and are more energy efficient.
- Inspect your lights for frayed wires or damaged sockets before use.
- Avoid overloading electrical outlets, as this can lead to electrical fires.
Keep a Close Eye on Candles. Candles add a warm and intimate ambiance to your holiday gatherings, but they can also pose a fire hazard. Here's how to enjoy them safely:
- Never leave candles unattended and keep them out of reach of children and pets.
- Place candles on stable, heat-resistant surfaces and away from flammable materials.
- Consider using flameless LED candles to achieve the same effect without the risk.
Maintain Your Fireplace and Chimney. A crackling fire can be a source of comfort during the holidays, but it can quickly turn dangerous if not properly maintained:
- Have your chimney cleaned and inspected by a professional annually.
- Use a fireplace screen to prevent sparks and embers from escaping.
- Keep flammable materials, such as holiday decorations, at a safe distance from the fireplace.
Practice Safe Cooking. Cooking is an integral part of holiday celebrations, but it's also a common source of home fires. Follow these cooking safety tips:
- Never leave cooking unattended and use a timer to remind you of dishes in the oven.
- Keep flammable items like oven mitts, kitchen towels, and paper towels away from the stovetop.
- Have a fire extinguisher in the kitchen and know how to use it.
Develop a Family Escape Plan. In case of a fire emergency, having a family escape plan can be a lifesaver. Make sure everyone in your household knows:
- Multiple exits from each room in your home.
- A designated meeting place outside.
- How to call 911 for help.
Test Smoke Alarms. Regularly testing and maintaining smoke alarms is one of the simplest yet most effective ways to protect your family from fires. Ensure that you have working smoke detectors on every level of your home and in every sleeping area.
Avoid Fire Hazards in the Outdoors. If you enjoy outdoor holiday decorations, be mindful of fire hazards:
- Keep outdoor lights and electrical connections away from water sources.
- Never use indoor extension cords for outdoor decorations.
- Ensure outdoor outlets are protected from the elements.
Celebrating the holidays should be a time of happiness, not worry. By following these holiday fire safety tips, you can create a secure and festive environment for your loved ones. Prioritizing safety during this season will help ensure that your holiday memories are filled with joy, laughter, and warmth, without the threat of fire-related accidents.
With these tips, you can help prevent holiday decorations from causing significant harm and destruction. By doing your part now, you can relax and enjoy a stress-free holiday later. If, despite your best effort, an accident does occur, the professionals at ServiceMaster Restore are available 24/7/365 to help guide you through crisis to resolution. Call us at 1-800-RESPOND.
Learn more about our fire and smoke damage removal services.