Holiday safety tips for your home or condo
The holiday season is almost upon us! You’re likely making plans on how to spend the time with your friends and family. Candles, Christmas trees and holiday lighting are traditionally a part of festive winter celebrations no matter where you live, but as you enjoy the festive time, extra precaution should be taken in order to prevent holiday accidents. The statistics are shocking - according to Electrical Safety Foundation International, an average of 373,900 home fires occurred every year between 2005 and 2009, with 30% of them in winter! Here are some quick holiday safety tips you can use this upcoming holiday season.
Keeping your home and family safe!
Smoke alarms. According to the National Fire Protect Association, seventy percent of all home fire fatalities occur in homes with faulty smoke alarms or no smoke alarms at all. You should be doing regular check-ups on smoke alarms to minimize the risks. Here are some things you can do to ensure your smoke alarms are in good working condition:
- Make sure all smoke alarms have a label of a recognized testing laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories.
- Mount the devices on a wall 6 to 12 inches from the ceiling.
- Install a new battery every year, and replace the smoke alarms every ten years.
- Check the device every month with the test button.
- For best protection, all smoke alarms should be internally linked to go off at the same time.
Christmas trees. Christmas trees are an essential part of holiday décor. As reported by the National Christmas Tree Association, more than 36 million trees are sold annually. Unfortunately, they are also susceptible to multiple risks, and United States Fire Administration points out that Christmas Trees are involved in at least 400 fires every year. To avoid becoming part of this statistic, practice the following:
- Choose a fresh, green tree to reduce the risk of fire hazard of dry needles.
- Give it plenty of water – a six-foot tree loses half a gallon of water daily.
- Make sure to keep it away from heat sources and flammable materials.
- Turn off the lights on the tree when no one is around to minimize the chance of a short-circuit resulting in a fire.
- Make sure you keep your toddlers and pets away from the tree. They can knock it over and either be hurt, or knock over a candle and cause a fire.
Candles, Fireplaces and Chimneys. According to National Fire Protection Association, candle use has doubled in the last five years, and, sadly, over the last decade fire accidents caused by improper use of candles has tripled. Candles, just like fireplaces, should be used with extra caution, as an open flame poses additional risks to your safety.
- Never leave a child or a pet alone in a room with candles or a fireplace.
- Keep combustibles at least three feet away from all open sources of fire.
- Have your chimney checked every year before the holiday season.
- Flammable liquids like gasoline and lantern fuel should never be used to light a fire.
- As a rule of thumb, never leave fire unattended and extinguish all candles and the fireplace when going to sleep.
Holiday lights and extension cords
Improper use of extension cords and damaged holiday lights can all cause short-circuits that result in fires. Most risks can be minimized, if you follow a few simple rules:
- Check all lights and cords for damaged sockets and bare wires.
- Never connect more than three light strands together.
- Do not fold or staple any extension cord.
- Avoid overloading electrical outlets and consult the manufacturer’s instructions for the power requirements of each device.
- Keep all electrical devices clear of snow, water or any other liquid.
Enjoy your holidays safely with your loved ones in a risk-free environment. Your homeowners association management company may have more tips and tricks to stay safe this holiday season. Be sure to take their advice! By taking the right steps to protect yourself and the people around you, you’re setting a foundation for a wonderful and joyous winter season!