15 Tips to Keep Your Home Safe from Fire This Christmas

 


Did you know that one of every three home Christmas tree fires are caused by electrical problems? Additionally, on average, one of every 40 reported home structure Christmas tree fires resulted in death compared to an average of one death per 142 total reported home structure fires. One in every 6 of these Christmas tree fires are caused by a heat source being too close to the tree.

December is definitely a time of the year to celebrate the holidays and the impending New Year; however, it is also the peak time of the year for home fires. In December, 11% of home fires begin with decorations compared to 4% during the rest of the year. Additionally, Christmas tree fires result not only in structural damage but also in injuries and deaths.

Keep your family safe this holiday season by following our 15 holiday fire safety tips below!

Be Smart With Your Tree

*Buying an artificial tree? Make sure you look for the label “Fire Resistant” or “Fire Retardant” when purchasing your tree. Although this label doesn’t guarantee that your tree won’t catch fire, it does indicate that the tree is built to resist burning and should extinguish quickly in the event of a fire.

*Are live trees more your thing? Check for freshness. When you select a fresh tree, it will be green, and the needles will be hard to pull off the branches. When the needles are bent between your fingers, they shouldn’t break, and the trunk butt of the tree should be sticky with resin. If you do not experience this with your tree, consider getting a fresher tree.

*When it’s time to set up your tree in your home, remember to place it away from the fireplace and the radiators. Heated rooms dry out live plants and trees quickly, so be sure to keep the tree stand filled with water.

Avoid Fire and Electrocution With Your Lights

*Whether you’re placing lights indoors or outside, ONLY use lights that have been tested for safety by a recognized testing laboratory.

*As you put lights up, check each set of lights, new or old, for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections. Throw out the damaged sets as they can quickly set off a spark and begin fires, and purchase new ones to replace the old sets.

*Never use electric lights on a metallic tree. The tree can become charged with electricity from faulty lights, and if you touch a branch, you could be electrocuted.

*Don’t use more than 3 standard-size sets of lights per single extension cord.

*Fasten your outdoor lights securely to the house walls, trees, and other firm supports to protect the lights from wind damage, and only use insulated staples instead of nails or tacks to hold the lights in place. You can also opt to run the strings of light through hooks, which you can find at your local hardware store.

*Plug your outdoor electric lights and decorations into circuits protected by ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs). Portable outdoor GFCIs can be purchased where electrical supplies are sold, and a qualified electrician can permanently install GFCIs to your household circuits if you wish.

*Always turn off all of the lights when you go to bed or leave your house. Lights that aren’t turned off always have the potential to short out and start a fire.

Decorate With Care

*Only use non-combustible or flame-resistant materials to trim your tree. Tinsel or artificial icicles of plastic or nonleaded metals work just fine.

*Wear gloves to avoid eye and skin irritation while decorating with spun glass “angel hair.” Follow the directions on the container to avoid lung irritation when you decorate with artificial snow sprays.

*Never decorate your tree with lit candles. Keep your candles away from trees and other flammable items, and place them in a location in which they will not be knocked down.

Stay Safe With the Fireplace

*Do not remove any fireplace embers or ash. If you must remove them, place them in a metal container with a lid and cover them with water. Do NOT place them in a plastic or paper bag or a container that isn’t fire-resistant. Additionally, don’t dispose of them indoors or too close to your home or another structure.

*Resist the temptation to burn wrapping paper in the fireplace. A flash fire may result as the wrapping paper ignites suddenly and burn intensely.

 

Want more tips? Looking for a new home to celebrate your future holidays in? Call us at Prudential Select Properties at (314) 835-6000 or visit us online at www.DiscoverStL.com to find listings, information about us, and much more! Have a great Christmas and a happy New Year!

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