It’s unfortunate, but each year when the holidays roll around, nearly 800 homes experience a damaging house fire, which results in $12 million in property damage annually. To avoid joining that statistic, proper holiday fire safety is critical. While the festivities and company can often be distracting, it’s crucial that you pay close attention to potential fire hazards, including decorative lights, candles, and even your cooking. At Kiser Construction, our fire restoration experts are here to discuss important fire safety tips that will help keep your home and family safe throughout the holidays.
● Take Care of Your Christmas Tree
If you have a live Christmas tree, make sure you water it regularly! Christmas trees can dry out very quickly when they’re indoors for several days, so it’s critical you keep your tree hydrated and supple. A dry Christmas tree is a glaring fire hazard, so for added protection, don’t place your tree anywhere near a heat source.
● Always Unplug Decorative Lighting
It can be tempting to leave your Christmas lights on throughout the night, but don’t make that mistake! You can’t stop a fire you aren’t aware of, so for you and your family’s safety, unplug all Christmas lights before heading to bed. If you have trouble remembering to do this, install a light timer that will automatically turn them off at a predetermined time.
● Clean Your Oven
Before you start your holiday food preparation, make sure you clean your oven thoroughly. According to fire restoration experts, one of the leading causes of holiday house fires is grease buildup while cooking. If you experience a small grease fire, turn your oven off immediately and keep it closed! A closed oven door cuts off the oxygen the fire needs to grow, which will cause it to wither and die. Always keep a fire extinguisher in your cooking areas in case of an emergency.
● Never Leave Candles Unattended
Fire restoration experts estimate that candles cause approximately 15,600 house fires each year, and the holidays are a prime time for decorative candle use. If you’re going to light candles around your home, never leave them unattended, and blow them out when you plan to leave the room. As an alternative, consider using electric candles to provide the same ambiance without the fire danger. If it’s the pleasant, welcoming scent you’re after, consider using an electric oil warmer or diffuser to lessen your fire risk.
● Don’t Overload Your Outlets
With umpteen holiday decorations, it can be tempting to attach a power strip to your outlet and pack it full of plugs. Don’t make that mistake! Your outlets are designed to handle a specific electrical load, and when you plug too many cords into an outlet, you create excessive power draw.
If your home’s wiring is a bit outdated, this situation can result in overheating, dangerous sparks, and even fires. Use a surge protector if you plan to plug in several things at once. While it’s not ideal, a surge protector should automatically turn off if it begins to overheat.
● Give Your Heaters Room to Breathe
If you have baseboard heaters, it is critical that you leave plenty of room between the heater and surrounding objects. When you’re decorating for the holidays, it can be difficult to rearrange your furniture so everything fits, but never situate anything too close to a heat source. When furniture or decorations restrict airflow around your heaters, those items can become dangerously hot. If you don’t correct the problem promptly, a fire may ensue.
● Check Your Smoke Detector
Your smoke detector is one of the first lines of defense if a fire breaks out. There should be one on every house level, bedroom, or sleeping area, the alarm should be tested monthly, and the battery replaced every six months.
● Double Check Your Lights
Christmas lights can be problematic if they have damage, so before you put them up and away, you want to check the wiring in them to ensure they're still functioning properly. If you find any breaks or molten bits on the casing, the entire strand will need to be replaced because it is a safety issue.
● Avoid Putting Lights on Metal Trees
Fire and electrical shock are risks that come with placing electric lights on any metal items. If you opt to use a metal tree, it is recommended to use only tinsel, ornaments, or garland and nothing that requires electricity.
● Don't Use Your Oven to Heat Your Home
It's not uncommon for people to use ovens to heat their homes, and while an electric range is not going to risk carbon monoxide, it can cause a fire. The appliance can malfunction and overheat when the oven is used for prolonged periods. And if the door is left open, the temperatures can get high enough to cause electrical malfunctions and catch fire.
● Have Fire Extinguishers on Hand
Another recommendation is to have a few different fire extinguishers placed around your home. You also want to be educated on their proper use, so there is no hesitation if a worst-case scenario happens.
● Inspect Your HVAC Unit
Furnaces can pose a few dangers inside of a household, and one of the top ones is electrical problems resulting in fires. As the parts and connections age, they can become damaged or loose, leading to burnt wiring and increasing the chance of a furnace fire. Having regular inspections ensure your system works correctly to keep you comfortable and safe all winter.
Kiser Construction: Your Fire Damage Restoration Experts
At Kiser Construction, we’re dedicated to keeping Twin Cities homes and families well-protected. In the event of a disaster, we’re also dedicated to getting you and your family back on your feet. If you or someone you know has suffered a holiday house fire, get in contact with our team. Our fire restoration contractors are available 24/7 because we know that when disaster strikes, you need someone to be there for you. To learn more about our restoration services, give us a call at 763-633-2010 or feel free to message us on our contact page.
If you’re in need of emergency service following a fire or other incident, we encourage you to call our emergency line at 612-518-8852.