As we approach the winter months, you’ve likely begun thinking about the holidays. Whether you’re compiling a gift list, looking for new recipes for a family dinner, or thinking about the decorations you’ll put on in your home, there’s no denying it’s an exciting time. However, in the excitement of the holiday season, it’s often easy to overlook house fires, which tend to occur all too often during the holidays.
According to the United States Fire Administration, there were nearly 15,000 injuries caused by house fires in 2017. There are a few things of which you’ll want to be conscious of to keep you and your family safe this holiday season. You’ll find them listed below.
Holiday Decorations And Lights
Holiday decorations and lights are perhaps one of the most exciting aspects of the holidays, but they could cause the most damage. That’s because many people plug too many decorations into their home, overloading their circuit breaker and increasing their risk of electrical fire. Studies show that nearly half of electrical-failure home fires were caused by a known type of equipment, meaning homeowners could have prevented them.
Another reason that holidays decorations and lights cause such problems around the holidays is due to faulty wires. With continual use over time, wires can begin to fray, which can increase the likelihood of causing an electrical short. Additionally, if stored improperly, electrical units could be exposed to dampness or mildew, which could increase the chances of a house fire.
When setting up your decorations and lights, you should be diligent checking all wires to ensure that there are no vulnerabilities. When purchasing new decorations, be on the lookout for items that are either flame-resistant or flame-retardant. Also be sure to use indoor lights inside your home, and outdoor lights outside your house. Lastly, be sure that you:
- Do not place decorations near heat sources
- Do not plug more than the recommended light strands into one another
- Hang your lights with clips as opposed to nails
Each year, fire officials throughout the country respond to approximately 1,000 incidents involving Christmas trees. When it comes to house fires, trees are particularly concerning. Fire can spread through them quickly, and they’ll act as a natural accelerant that could send flames onto your walls or ceiling. If your tree catches fire, the rest of your house could be aflame in a matter of minutes.
If you purchase a real tree, be sure to keep it well-hydrated. If your tree is dry, it is more susceptible to fire. Additionally, no matter if you have an authentic or fake tree, be sure to keep it away from any heat sources. This includes fireplaces and electrical outlets.
Many people enjoy hosting holiday parties. Having such a large number of people in a small area could pose to be a safety risk if a house fire to occur. Make sure that you check all of your smoke detectors before your guests arrive to ensure they’ll receive adequate notice of a fire. Additionally, don’t hesitate to share your fire escape plane with your guests.