Holiday fire safety

'Tis the season for fire safety!

‘Tis the season for holiday fire safety! Candles, fireplaces, decorations, and Christmas trees are beautiful, but all increase the likelihood of a fire. Review these safety tips to keep your home fire-free and full of joy during your family festivities.

FIRST THINGS FIRST — Check your SMOKE alarms

Double-check your smoke alarms regularly. Make sure that batteries are fully charged and connected to the device. Fires are more likely to occur in December and January, so your smoke alarm plays a vital role in reducing fire deaths and injuries. According to the National Fire Protection Association, homes without working smoke alarms have more than twice the death rate than those with working alarms.

KEEP WARM (AND SAFE) BY THE FIRE

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), putting items such as furniture, clothing, and other decorations too close to a flame is the leading cause of fatal home-heating fires.

Always keep children and anything flammable at least 3 feet away from fireplaces, stovetops, and heating equipment.

FLAMELESS CANDLES: JUST AS FESTIVE, TWICE AS SAFE

According to NFPA, home candle fires peak during December. Candles may make the atmosphere more inviting, but having open flames around all the festive decor makes them more hazardous, too.

Consider replacing real candles with battery-operated, flameless candles, which provide the same ambiance with less danger. You can even choose various scents, just like with wax candles.

If you do decide to burn real candles:

  • Use sturdy candleholders placed on flat surfaces.
  • Keep candles away from other objects.
  • Always blow them out when you leave a room.

O CHRISTMAS TREE, O CHRISTMAS TREE

Everyone loves a Christmas tree loaded with lights and sentimental decorations. Although Christmas tree fires are rare, when they do occur, they are likely to be serious. This video from the NFPA shows just how fast a Christmas tree fire can catch and spread:

Be fire-smart while you deck the halls with these tips from the NFPA.

HOW LOVELY ARE THY BRANCHES

  • Choose a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched.
  • Make sure the tree trunk fits your stand. Trimming the bark off to squeeze the trunk in inhibits the tree’s ability to absorb water, causing it to die faster.
  • When buying an artificial tree, look for the fire-resistant label. It won’t be fireproof, but the extra precaution helps.

ROCKIN’ AROUND THE CHRISTMAS TREE

  • Cut 2 inches from the base of the trunk before putting the tree in the stand.
  • Situate the tree at least 3 feet away from any heat source, like fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents, or lights.
  • Don’t block any exits.
  • Water the tree daily.

SET THE BRANCHES GLOWING

  • Use lights that are labeled from a recognized testing laboratory. Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use.
  • Replace or remove any lights that have worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. Don't connect more strands than the manufacturer recommends — generally no more than three strands per extension cord..
  • Never decorate the tree with real, lit candles.
  • Always unplug the Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed.

AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR

  • Remove the tree once the needles are dry and starting to fall off.
  • Check with your community recycling program about how to dispose of your tree.

DECK THE HALLS WITH HOME INSURANCE

Whether you’re wrapping up presents or wrapping up the holiday season, give yourself the gift of peace of mind by making sure you’re covered for any holiday mishap.

Get covered this holiday