Festive celebrations, twinkling lights, and toasty fireplaces are all part of the holiday season, but they can also turn this time of year into a devastating one. Here at KW Insurance Agency, we want to help you enjoy a safe holiday season with friends and family. That’s why we’re talking about the five biggest holiday fire hazards and the necessary steps to prevent them.
Did you know Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, followed by Christmas Day and Christmas Eve? Kitchen fires are often caused by leaving cooking food unattended. While preparing your holiday feast, it’s important to remain present in the kitchen. You should also make sure the stove and countertops are clutter free. This can help prevent other items, like dish towels or oven mitts, from catching fire.
And for those of you frying turkeys this year, read our Thanksgiving Dinner Mistakes to help avoid a kitchen disaster.
Candles are a big part of the holiday season — they warm our homes with festive smells and light up rooms. But if left unattended, candles can pose a serious risk. Before you leave the house or go to bed, make sure all candles are blown out. Candles should also be placed at least one foot away from flammable items and placed in sturdy candle holders that won’t tip over.
You can also avoid candle hazards by using battery-operated flameless candles.
According to the National Fire Prevention Association, U.S. fire departments respond to more than 200 home fires involving Christmas trees each year. The key to minimizing Christmas tree-related fires is to keep your tree well-maintained and away from heat sources like a radiator or fireplace. A well-watered tree is less lightly to ignite as compared to a dry and neglected tree. However, no matter how well watered the tree is, it will start to dry out after 4 weeks — so once the holidays are over, it’s best to take it down.
And for those of you with four-legged, furry friends running around your home — make sure your tree is in a secure stand that can’t be knocked over. For extra caution, you can place a fence or baby gate around the tree to prevent your pet from jumping on it.
Artificial Christmas trees don’t pose as much of a fire hazard, but when shopping for one make sure it is flame-retardant.
Before you light a fire, it’s important to have your fireplace inspected. Since it’s been out of use for a season, soot can harden along the inside of the chimney, which needs to be cleaned before you start a fire. You should also always place a screen in front of your fireplace. This will help prevent embers from flying out onto the floor or carpet.
It’s important to understand that only wood should be burned in the fireplace, no wrapping paper and definitely no flammable liquids! And when cleaning out the fireplace, place embers in a metal container outside, allowing them to cool for 24 hours before disposing of them.
It’s time to deck the halls! While you untangle the lights from the year before, inspect them for frayed, cracked wires or broken sockets. Throw out any damaged light strands. The more lights the better, right? This is not always the case. When connecting lights, read the instructions for how many strands can be connected. By connecting too many light strands end to end, it’s possible to overload circuits. An overloaded circuit can spark and cause an electrical fire.
We want everyone to enjoy the holiday cheer without the fear of a potential fire. Everyone at KW Insurance Agency wishes you, your family, and friends a happy and safe holiday. Have more questions about holiday safety? Give us a call at 781.751.9080 (Dedham) or 617.492.4150 (Cambridge).