5 Tips to Avoid House Fires During the Holidays

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Posted by Ben Long

Image of candle burning with Christmas lights in the background

According to the National Fire Protection Association, most house fires occur during the winter months.  To keep you and your family safe during the holidays, follow these 5 tips:

Check your smoke detectors.  Smoke detectors are getting more advanced – many of them connect to a house’s power supply – but they should still have backup batteries.  Make sure these batteries still work in the event of a power outage – check them twice yearly.

Keep an eye on your fireplace. Don’t leave a fire unattended, especially if you have a wood-burning fireplace – stray sparks could easily start a blaze.  Keep any holiday decorations clear of the fireplace, and make sure your chimney is professionally cleaned before you use it for the first time.

Keep fire extinguishers handy.  It’s a good idea to have a couple of fire extinguishers around the house, especially in the kitchen and near a fireplace.  Make sure everyone in your family knows how to use one in case of an emergency.  Extinguishers last between 5 and 15 years, but will eventually expire.  If you’re not sure when yours was last examined, get a local fire extinguisher service company to check it out.

Christmas trees can be devastating in a fire.  Did you know that highly-flammable turpentine is made from pine trees?  That should give you a clue as to how incendiary a real Christmas tree can be.  To minimize the risk of your tree catching on fire, make sure the tree is fresh when it’s first purchased.  Check its water supply daily, as it will dry out quickly in your heated home.  Take it down as soon as possible after the holidays.

If you have an artificial tree, make sure it’s flame-retardant and kept at least 3 feet away from any heat source.

Check your holiday lights. Whether they’re inside or outside lights, make sure they’re safe for use.  If there are any frayed wires or broken bulbs, you should get rid of it.  Don’t overload your outlets – follow the instructions on the box to see how many strings of lights you can plug in at one time.

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