Every holiday season, there are house, garage or condo fires in the news. Few of the victims have house or tenant insurance. In the most tragic cases, lives had been lost. Here are a few fire prevention tips, specific to the holiday season:
- Candles are popular this time of year. Cut candle wicks short before lighting (to prevent a high flame). Better yet, use the flame-less candles (they flicker & look quite real).
- Never leave burning candles unattended. Don't leave anything cooking on your stove unattended. Out of sight, out of mind. It is easy to get distracted or forget. Using a timer can also help to prevent food from burning (& a potential fire).
- Use sturdy candle stands. Put them in a location where they won’t be knocked over.
- Keep candles away from children, pets & curtains. If the candle is integrated into a centre piece, don’t let it burn down & ignite the rest of the decorations.
- Resist the urge to overload electrical outlets. Use appropriate extension cords (for example, grounded plugs for outdoor lights & decorations).
- When replacing light bulbs, don’t exceed recommended wattage. Use light bulbs that are safety certified & that stay cool (LED for example).
- Keep real Christmas trees well watered. Once a tree has dried out it becomes flammable, it is time to take the lights off to store for next year.
- Use appropriate extension cords (for example, grounded outdoor cords for outdoor use etc). Don’t use cords that are damaged with exposed wires or bad connections. Don’t run electrical cords under carpets.
- Turn off all holiday/decorative lights off before going to bed &/or before you leave home.
- Ensure fireplace chimneys are clean of debris before using. Burn woods that don’t spark & use a fire screen. Make sure the fire is out before going to bed or going out.
- Keep matches & lighters out of reach of children.
- For guests that smoke, create a designated smoking area with a safe place to dispose of their cigarette butts (for example, a tin can full of sand makes a good outdoor ashtray).
- Ensure fire alarms & carbon monoxide detectors are in good working order.
- Educate visiting family & friends about fire escape routes (keep everyone safe, just in case).
- It is not a good idea to leave the house with items baking in the oven. Keep flammable materials well away from the stove burners. Use a timer!
- Buy a small fire extinguisher for your home. A small chemical extinguisher is best for your kitchen (best to put out grease fires).
It takes just a few minutes for a fire to be out of control. Minimize your risks to prevent a fire from happening in the first place. Stay safe…everywhere…always…but in particular this holiday season.