The end of the year is fast approaching, which means the time for decorations and celebrations is also drawing near. However, while this season is filled with gatherings and gift-giving, it pays to remember that this is also when the number of residential structure fires shoots up. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, nearly 156,000 winter holiday fires cause 2,600 injuries and up to $936 million in property damage yearly.
Things are bound to get chaotic with more cooking happening and more holiday decorations adorning your home. With that said, implementing these Christmas safety tips can help you avoid preventable disasters and, most importantly, make it through the holiday season safe and sound.
Stay Alert and Attentive While Cooking
Whether you’re hosting a feast or simply whipping up your signature dish for your family, keep these fire safety tips in mind to prevent cooking fires:
- Avoid wearing loose clothing or dangling accessories when cooking, as these could catch fire.
- Keep potholders, dish towels, oven mitts, and other flammable items away from the stovetop.
- Never leave the kitchen unattended when cooking. If you must step out for a moment, it’s best to take pans off the heat to avoid risks.
- If you are tired, sleepy, or have consumed alcohol, have someone else take over the cooking.
Learn What To Do in Case of a Cooking Fire
Knowing what to do to prevent a fire in the kitchen is important, but so is understanding how to respond in case of a cooking fire.
When a fire starts to grow uncontrollably, the automatic response may be to pour water on the flaming pot or move it to the sink. While using water can douse burning wood, paper, and other similar materials, liquids like oil and grease are another story. Water can cause hot oil or steam to splash, potentially injuring you and spreading the fire further.
Should a small fire start in your kitchen, follow these fire safety guidelines:
- For smaller flames, slide a lid across the top of the burning pot or pan to smother the fire. Turn off the heat and leave it covered until it has cooled.
- Use baking soda to put out small grease fires.
- For oven fires, turn off the oven and keep its door closed. This should let the fire burn out on its own, but it’s best to get your fire extinguisher ready if the flames climb to the stovetop.
- For fires rapidly spreading and producing extensive smoke, leave the kitchen immediately, close the door, and call the fire department.
Choose the Right Tree
When talking about holiday safety, one of the first and most important things to keep in mind is that a dry tree is a huge fire risk. So to keep your home safe – and your Christmas tree looking great – make sure your Christmas tree is fresh and has plenty of water. Placing it away from heat sources and monitoring its water level helps prevent it from becoming a fire hazard.
On the other hand, if you’re switching to an artificial tree this year, a practical holiday safety tip is to check that it’s made from fire-resistant materials.
Check Your Decorations
There are so many home decor items that can bring life to your home this holiday season. However, if you have kids or furry friends at home, it’s helpful to be mindful of what you’re using to deck the halls. For example, mistletoe, holly berries, Jerusalem cherries, and poinsettias are widely used in holiday floral displays but are toxic when ingested.
Shiny ornaments can also be a little too tempting for little ones. For glass safety, consider hanging all breakable decorations at the top of the tree or securing them to the wall, where they won’t be able to reach.
Finally, remember that the same lights that bring holiday cheer can also become a safety hazard if not used properly. Install the right type of lights indoors and outdoors, and replace sets with frayed wires or broken sockets as soon as possible.
Practice Electrical Safety
Decorative lights help create that festive mood inside homes. However, as you start setting up your string lights or twinkly bulbs, make sure that you’re not putting too many plugs into a single electrical outlet. Doing so can cause overheating and electrical malfunctions that quickly lead to devastating fires.
Here are some more Christmas safety tips for preventing electrical fires:
- Purchase only lights and electric decorations with the UL mark. UL-listed products have been manufactured to high safety standards and received complete testing.
- Whether new or previously used, inspect all lights for signs of damage before putting them up.
- Turn off all Christmas lights before leaving the house or going to bed.
The Fire and Smoke Damage Experts To Call
As you spend this holiday season reuniting with family and friends, it’s best to keep these Christmas safety tips in mind. Staying attentive while you cook, keeping your tree fresh, hanging breakable ornaments out of children’s reach, and practicing electrical safety can all go a long way in keeping fire hazards at bay.
With that said, know that expert help is available in case a fire has already affected your home. Restoration 1 is here 24/7 to get your Washington property back to its pre-fire condition, no matter the scope of the damage. Let our certified experts help you recover from this difficult time by offering the most caring services. Contact us anytime to get started.