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Avoid Having a Fire Ruin Your Holidays

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Holiday Fire Safety Tips

The holiday season is upon us and it is a time for joy, celebration and sharing with family and friends. Unfortunately it is also the most dangerous time of year for house fires and personal injuries caused by fire.

Consider the following:

  • During November and December there will be 47,000 house fires started directly or indirectly by holiday activities.
  • In December, according to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) the number of children seriously burned as a result of playing with matches will be 13% higher than the average for the rest of the year.
  • The number of candle fires in December is four times the average. The most dangerous days for candle fires are Christmas Eve day, Christmas, New Year’s Eve day and New Year’s.
  • When fires occur during the holidays they tend to be more devastating with 34% more property damage and a significantly higher injury rate than the average.

Make sure your holidays are “happy” this season by being aware of what the fire risks are and following a few common sense tips.

Cooking, Candles and Kids

By their very nature the holidays are full of distractions. There are presents to open, feasts to be cooked, more kids and adults in the house than normal, decorations to place and in general the usual household routine goes right out the door. Don’t let the distractions create situations that can become dangerous.

We all know the dangers that a live Christmas tree represents but you might be surprised to learn that most holiday fires start in the kitchen. Candles are the second most common cause of house fires which is not surprising given their importance in both the Christmas and Chanukah traditions. And then there are kids. Kids are inquisitive, bump into things and frequently don’t understand the possible consequences of a dangerous action.

There is much to keep an eye on but if you follow these simple tips you can help assure a very happy and safe season:

  • Keep a fire extinguisher rated for all types of fire easy to reach in the kitchen.
  • Keep an eye on what you fry. When cooking with oil always turn the skillet handle sideways so it does not hang over the stove top where curious little hands can grab it. Never leave the kitchen when frying food.
  • If you have pots simmering on the stove top and you need to leave the kitchen, take a hot pad with you to remind you there’s food on the burners.
  • If you are going to deep-fry your Thanksgiving turkey, do it outside on a level surface at least 10 feet from the house. The National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) suggests you not use a deep-fryer at all because of the many opportunities to spill oil. They suggest having it prepared by professionals rather than run the risk of serious scalding or explosive fires doing it at home.
  • Placement of Christmas, menorah or Shabbos or Yahrzeit candles should be carefully considered. Never place candles near window curtains or where flammable material is directly above. Don’t place candles where children or the family pet can reach them. Never leave a lit candle unattended. If you have children, don’t assume that you know where all the lit candles are in the house. Before retiring, check every room for purloined lit candles.
  • Of course test your smoke alarms and make sure they work.

Fire safety really is all about common sense and we’re sure you already know these tips. We just hope that bringing them up again makes you more aware of the risks and that helps create a safe and joyous holiday for you, your family and friends.

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