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Holiday Fire Safety
Every year during the holiday season, the number of house fires and injuries go up. According to the National Fire Prevention Association, on an average there are 240 home fires per year that start from Christmas tree lights. There are also 1,000 home fires each year that start from home cooking equipment. That's more than three times the daily average. This results in $13.1 million in direct property damages, 25 injuries and 16 deaths annually. To keep your holiday season safe here some tips you need to know.
Tips for Safe Use of Christmas Lights
- Use only lights that are listed by a testing laboratory. Replace strings of lights that are old, worn, frayed, or with loose bulbs. Connect no more that 3-4 strands of push in bulbs together.
- Always unplug Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed.
- Never use lit candles on trees and make sure any lit candles in the room are placed well away from tree branches.
- Try to keep live trees as moist as possible by giving them plenty of water daily. Do not purchase a tree that is dry or dropping needles. Check for fresh, green needles. Place your tree in a sturdy stand.
- Store matches and lighters up high, out of the reach of children.
- Make sure your tree is at least three feet away from any heat source. Try to place tree so that cords are not running long distances. Do not place the tree in front of exits or doors that lead to the outside of your home.
- Safely dispose of the tree when it begins to drop needles. Dried out tree are highly flammable and should not be left in the house or garage, or placed against the house.
Tips for Safe Cooking
- When cooking stay in your kitchen and if you must leave even for a short period of time turn off stoves and ovens.
- Keep children away from the cooking area. Turn pot handles inward to prevent from being turned over.
- Keep anything that can catch fire away from the stove top.
- When cooking with an oil deep fryer, place outside on concrete or in the grass. Try to avoid placing on a porch or deck.
- Measure amount of oil by first placing the turkey or chicken into the cooker and covering with water. Remove the bird and note where water level is at. Dry the inside, and then add the oil up to that level. This prevents overflow, which is the major cause of fires.
Tips for Heater Use
If using portable heater in the home make sure to avoid placing them close to anything that is flammable. Kerosene heaters should have adequate ventilation and a carbon monoxide detector located in the home. Also remember to check your smoke detectors monthly.
By following these few, simple tips your holiday season will be an enjoyable one. For questions or more information contact the Haywood County Fire Marshal’s Office at 828-452-6717 or visit the NFPA website.