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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Holiday Decorations and Fire Safety

12/9/2019 (Permalink)

Graphic with information on fire safety during the winter holidays "Put the Winter Freeze on Holiday Fires", presented by the US Fire Administration (USFA) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)

Be fire smart this December by taking precautions as you decorate your home for the holidays!

Residential fire damage in the winter months most commonly occurs because fire safety was ignored - either with holiday decorations throughout the home, or with cooking in the kitchen.

We've recently blogged about "Fire Safety During the Holidays" because Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and Christmas Eve rank as the top three peak days when firefighters respond to home cooking fires. To read more about home cooking fire safety, read this blog post: http://bit.ly/191125blog

In this post, we'd like to remind folks how to be fire smart when decking out your home for the holidays. Be aware of any fire dangers that may be present during this time, specifically looking at your Christmas tree, your holiday decorations, and your home.

Your Christmas tree should bring joy and happiness to your home during the holidays; it should not be the cause of disaster or fire. These guidelines apply if you have an artificial tree, but additional precautions must be taken if you have a live tree.

  • Never let your live tree dry out! Always keep it watered!
  • Make sure your tree is at least 3ft away from any heat source
  • Make sure your tree is not blocking an exit
  • NEVER use or light candles on your tree!
  • Inspect the lights you use to decorate your tree. 1 in every 4 home Christmas tree fires is caused by electrical problems.
  • Lastly, dispose of your live tree as soon as it begins to dry out

Holiday decorations come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and are used both indoors and outside. Be smart about choosing your holiday decorations, as well as where you place them.

  • Choose flame-resistant or flame-retardant decorations whenever possible
  • Use only UL approved, outdoor-rated lights when decorating the outdoors
  • Use appropriate means of hanging your lights; for instance, use plastic clips, not metal nails
  • Keep decorations away from windows and doors which are opened and closed frequently
  • Be sure you don't overload your electrical circuit or connect too many strings of lights
  • Replace damaged, worn, or old strings of lights and decorations. If possible, replace them with LED strings, as these pose less of a fire hazard.

Take a look around your home as you prepare to entertain guests during the holidays. There may be fire hazards you overlook simply because you live there and don't "see" them. More than half of home decoration fires in December are started by candles, so pay close attention to candles in your home!

  • Keep candles and melted wax warmers out of reach of small children and pets.
  • When candles are lit, ensure they are not near any flammable objects, such as decorations, curtains, or greeting cards.
  • Ask smokers to smoke outside; provide deep ashtrays with a bit of water so butts can be extinguished before guests return indoors.
  • Keep matches and lighters out of reach of children.
  • Stay in the kitchen when cooking on the stovetop. Keep a watchful eye in case someone lays an oven mitt or dishtowel near the stove where it may catch fire.
  • Test your smoke alarms before guests arrive and have a fire extinguisher accessible to the kitchen (and fireplace, if you will be using one).
  • Blow out all candles and turn off all lights and decorations, both indoor and outdoor, before you go to bed.

The National Fire Prevention Association works to educate the public about potential fire risks during the holidays, offering tip sheets, videos, and other resources. Learn more by visiting their website: http://bit.ly/2DXIx5Q

If the unthinkable should happen and you have a fire in your home during the holidays, know that you can call on SERVPRO® of Glenview to help clean up the fire and smoke damage. We are available 24/7/365 - call us at 847-832-9300.

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