Winter Holiday Safety

Early warning of a fire is essential, not only for protecting people, but also for ensuring property safety. November and December are peak months for fire-related deaths. With the holidays upon us and the weather getting colder, now is a perfect time to review best practices for fire safety in your home.

Cooking and heating are two of the leading causes of home fires and injuries. One of the most important things you can do to prevent injury and maintain fire safety is to be alert when cooking. Don’t leave your food unattended when you are frying, boiling, broiling or grilling. When you are slow cooking items, use a timer to remind you that you have something in the oven so you don’t walk away and forget it.

The American Red Cross provides the following tips for fire safety related to heating your home:
• Keep all flammables, like paper, clothing, bedding, drapes or rugs, at least 3 feet from a space heater, stove or fireplace
• Never leave portable heaters and fireplaces unattended; turn off heaters and make sure fireplace embers are extinguished before leaving the room
• If you must use a space heater, place it on a level, nonflammable surface, like ceramic tile, not on a rug or carpet
• Keep children and pets away from space heaters
• When buying a space heater, look for models that shut off automatically if the heater falls over

As you decorate for the holidays, please remember to not leave burning candles unattended or switch to flameless candles. As a child growing up, we went into the woods and cut down our tree and brought it home. It was our job, as children to ensure that the tree was watered every morning and evening. As I think back about that time, I am sure my parents were double checking us! Make sure you water your Christmas tree regularly and don’t leave the lights on overnight on live trees. Fresh cut trees have a short lifespan. Make sure you are removing the tree right after the holiday and properly disposing of it.

Three out of five deaths that happen in a home are because there was no working smoke detectors. Please take a moment to check your today. You’re most precious gifts are the people around you and making sure they are safe is important.

The National Fire Protection Association provides winter holiday safety tips. You can read them here.