Jan Doherty

Winter holidays are also associated with a rise in home fires

Jan Doherty, Public Education Officer, No Phone Number Available

Monday, December 14, 2015 at 2:35 p.m.

Winter holidays are also associated with a rise in home fires

Winter holidays are also associated with some predictable increases in home fires. To help keep your family safe this month, please stay vigilant when it comes to holiday “hot spots”.

  • December is the month with the most candle fires of the year. Consider swapping out the open-flame candles with battery-operated ones! If you choose traditional candles for decorations, make sure they are displayed in sturdy candle holders. Never place candles within 12 inches of anything that can burn. Always blow candles out whenever you leave the room.
  • Unattended cooking causes the most home fires in the U.S. throughout the year. As kitchen activities increase with the preparation of festive treats there is an increase in the number of cooking fires and burn injuries. Set a timer every time the stove is turned on. Keep a “No Kid” zone with at least three feet of safe space around the stove. Never leave the kitchen if something is frying. Remove combustible materials such as towels or packaging from the stovetop.
  • Remember to water natural Christmas trees. Once the needles begin to fall, be sure to remove the tree from the home. Never place the tree over heat vents or in a space that blocks the exit path.
  • Keep space heaters at least three feet away from anything that can burn, e.g. couch, blankets, curtains, toys. Always turn space heaters off when you leave the house or go to sleep. Make sure that fireplaces have screens. Take extra precautions with young children so they cannot touch the extremely hot glass screens still installed on most gas fireplaces.
  • Check your smoke detectors to make sure that batteries are working. Read the back label to make sure the detector is not more than 10 years old. Consider giving yourself or your friends a new photoelectric smoke detector with 10-year batteries and a hush button for about $20. Every residence should have a working smoke detector installed on each level of the home, outside each sleeping area and inside each bedroom.

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