The holidays are here and for many families, they bring a flurry of excitement and activity. At the same time, the holidays also see a significant increase in preventable accidents and injuries caused by home fires. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), 30 percent of home fires and 38 percent of home fire deaths occur during the winter months of December, January and February.
Luckily, simple steps can be taken to reduce the risks of death and injury from a home fire during this busy time of year. As you and your loved ones prepare for the winter festivities, here are a few potential fire hazards to be aware of.
Four Fire Hazards to Avoid:
- Lights and Decorations: According to the NFPA, holiday lights and other electric decorations are involved in an estimated average of 160 home fires each year.
- Avoid overloading electrical outlets or connecting multiple strings of lights and cords.
- Use LED decorations. Unlike incandescent bulbs, which generate most of their energy in heat, LEDs are cool to the touch.
- Do not leave your decorations up beyond the holiday. Leaving wires exposed to the elements long-term can decrease their shelf life and increase the risk of a fire.
- Counterfeit Electrical Products: Defective products of any kind are a concern during the holidays. Unlike other counterfeit products, an unregulated electrical product can cause a fire, deaths, injuries and substantial property damage. While you may save money in the short term, a fire caused by bargain extension cords could cost far more.
- Holiday Trees: Christmas tree fires are not as common. But, when they do occur, Christmas tree fires are more likely to be serious. One of every three home Christmas tree fires is caused by an electrical problem. Remember to:
- Water a live Christmas tree daily to decrease its flammability.
- Avoid connecting more than two strings of lights together.
- Keep trees away from electric fireplaces and space heaters.
- Holiday cooking: In 2014, the three leading dates for home fires caused by cooking were Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas day. In the kitchen, keep anything flammable such as oven mitts, wooden utensils, food wrappers and towels away from the cooking area.