Follow these tips to keep you, your home, your business, and your family safe this holiday season.
The holidays are a time for celebration, family, and decorations. With this season also comes a few safety considerations for both homes and businesses. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), each year, almost 47,000 fires occur during this time of year, causing more than 500 deaths, 2,200 injuries, and costing $554,000,000 in property damage. The increased use of candles, fireplaces, and combustible decor means there is greater risk for a fire breaking out in your home. To protect your home from fire this season, follow these tips.
According to the NFPA, candles start more than one-third of home decoration fires. Protect your home and business by using flameless, battery-operated candles instead of candles that have an open flame. Not only does this prevent fire, but this also eliminates potential burns from hot wax.
When open-flame candles must be used, follow these safety tips:
- Blow out candles when you leave the room or go to sleep.
- Avoid using candles in the bedroom and other areas where people may fall asleep.
- Children should never be left alone in a room with a burning candle or any open flame.
- Keep candles at least 12 inches away from decorations and anything flammable.
- Light candles carefully. Keep your hair and any loose clothing away from the flame.
- Only use candleholders that are sturdy and difficult to tip over.
- Candleholders should only be placed on a surface that is clean and sturdy.
- Don’t burn a candle all the way down. Candles should be put out before it gets too close to the holder.
- Never use a candle if oxygen is used in the home or building.
As of recent, turkey fryers have become a new source of holiday fires. The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports 216 fire or scald/burn incidents involving turkey fryers that occurred in the last two decades (between 1998 and 2018), resulting in more than $9.7 million in property loss. If you plan on using a turkey fryer this year, seek out a professional to fry your turkey or utilize a new, oil-less fryer. Should you wish to fry your own turkey, follow these best practices:
- Always ensure your turkey is completely thawed and dry.
- Set the fryer up on level ground, at least 10 feet from the building.
- Keep hand protection available, as the lid and handle often become too hot to touch.
- Keep a fire extinguisher present for any mishaps.
Fresh Christmas trees are often a great source of fun and memories. Use the following tips to maintain Christmas tree safety:
- Keep trees at least three feet from heat sources such as fireplaces, radiators, etc.
- Only use lights tested by a qualified testing laboratory and designed specifically for indoor or outdoor use, depending on your application.
- Always turn off the lights when you leave for the day (or place them on a timer).
- Keep your tree watered, topping off the reservoir daily.
- Never use lit candles as tree decorations.
Other Safety Considerations
Test your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, both in your home & in your business, to ensure they are working properly. Emergency exits should be kept clear, especially before special events where more people may be frequenting the business. Heating equipment should be inspected for proper operation and special care should be taken to ensure combustible items and decorations are not placed too close.