Shopping, gift wrapping, entertaining, and traveling add up to lengthy to-do lists at this time of year, but don’t forget to include holiday safety.
The bad news is that home fires dramatically increase during the holiday season. The good news is that most of these fires can easily be prevented by following simple safety tips:
- Indoor/Outdoor Lighting. Don’t overload electrical outlets and never use lighting with frayed cords or broken bulbs. When hanging exterior lights, do not use staples or nails, which can damage the protective coating on the cords.
- Decorating Safety. If your dream is to make your home’s exterior and the yard look like a model winter wonderland, be safe and get some help. At this time of year, nearly 6,000 people visit hospital emergency rooms with injuries sustained from holiday decorating.
- Candles.From 2006-2010, nearly 12,000 home fires in the U.S. were started by candles, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Never leave a burning candle unattended, and be sure to keep candles away from flammable materials — curtains, furniture, decorations, etc. Electric or battery-operated flameless candles are increasingly popular and widely available in a variety of styles. Flameless candles are always the safest option, not only for the holidays but all year round.
- Christmas Trees. If you decide to purchase a real tree to decorate for Christmas, be sure that it is fresh and the needles are not already shedding. Keep water in its stand to be sure the tree’s moisture content stays high to help eliminate the risk of fire. According to the National Fire Protection Association, Christmas trees are responsible for about 230 home fires and four deaths each year.
- Wrapping Paper. Gathering around the family fireplace is a favorite holiday tradition when Florida temperatures allow. It may be tempting to toss wrapping paper into the flames, but don’t! Ink and other coatings on wrapping paper make it highly flammable and can easily result in chimney fires. Between increased flame height and burning paper embers up the chimney, throwing wrapping paper into either a fireplace or woodstove is dangerous.