Families and friends across the country come together each December at a greater rate than they do at other times of the year. We all have our own traditions. There’s a threat hiding behind this diverse cornucopia of traditions: Holiday fires make December a particularly dangerous month. According to one source, more than 150,000 holiday fires occur each year. On top of that, these holiday fires cause more than 500 deaths, 2,000 injuries and $50 million dollars in damage.
The Christmas Tree and Candles, Everywhere
Many of the season’s traditions (religious and otherwise) involve displays of light and flammable materials. These traditions are one of major drivers of holiday fires. Some precautions can be taken that can help keep your family safe.
For example, Christmas trees tend to dry out. Dry plant material is incredibly flammable. Tree skirts and stands are also often made out of flammable materials. Make sure that you avoid these common pitfalls. If your family has a Christmas tree, water it. Make sure that the lights you use are in good working order. If a strand has loose wires, replace it. Unplug the lights at night and make sure the tree is at least three feet from a heat source and away from any exits. Holiday traditions involving candles can also pose a great threat. Treating flammable materials with proper respect is one way you can reduce your family’s risk of falling victim to holiday fires this season.
Cooking and Heating
One of our favorite parts of the season? The food. During the holiday season, many of us cook more meals at home. As the temperatures chill and we begin to spend more time indoors, we increase the wear and tear we place on our homes. Many families go on extended vacations during the winter months. Failing to properly winterize your home can also cause holiday fires.
Whether you’re going on an extended trip or engaging on a culinary adventure, some simple common-sense tips can help keep your household safe from holiday fires. Keep flammable materials three feet away from any heat source. If you have a fireplace, store your cooled ashes in a covered metal container outside, ten feet away from any buildings.