Posted by: Carrie Reynolds | November 28, 2011

Holiday Fire Safety Tips…You’ll be Thankful you did!!

The holiday season is filled with celebrations and traditions. Celebrating with a big turkey dinner, colorful lights, and Christmas trees are elements that add excitement to our holiday season– unfortunately they are also a fire hazard. In fact, it is estimated that over 2,600 people are injured from accidental fires during the holiday season each year. So with Thanksgiving & Christmas just around the corner I thought it would be appropriate to brush up on some holiday safety tips to keep you and your loved ones safe this holiday season!

  • Cooking is the number one cause of home fires, so remember to turn off your stoves and oven when they are not in use!
  • Always stay in the kitchen when cooking on a range (especially if you are frying something)!
  • Make sure that all items that can burn (dishtowels, paper or plastic bags, and curtains) are kept out of harm’s way. 
  • Also if you heating up any dishes make sure that the serving ware you are using are microwave safe, don’t heat up anything in aluminum foil, and don’t forget those potholders for hot dishes!
  • Place a Christmas tree at least three feet away from heat sources such as a fireplace or heating vent. The tree should also stand in a sturdy, water-holding stand that is refilled daily.
  • Do not keep a fresh tree in your home for more than two weeks because it will dry out and become extremely flammable.
  • Use lights as intended: indoor for indoor use only, and outdoor for outdoor use only.
  • Look for the UL safety rating on all electrical decorations. This ensures that they have been tested for safety hazards.
  • Throw away light strings that are cracked or have exposed or loose wires.

Also don’t forget about that warm cozy fire that has been keeping you warm all winter, make sure and take the time to show it some love! Both metal and masonry chimneys require maintenance so that smoke and flue gases are ventilated properly.  At the very least, you should have your chimney inspected annually before each heating season. In addition:

  • Have your chimney cleaned on a regular basis to reduce creosote build-up. This accumulates in stovepipes and chimneys, and can ignite unless it is cleaned out. Avoid using chemical chimney cleaners, as they are not effective in removing creosote build-up.
  • Make sure your masonry chimney has a flue liner in place to reduce the possibility that the masonry could absorb creosote.
  • Replace cracked or damaged liners, as they will allow creosote to accumulate and heat to escape. This will increase your risk of fire.
  • When hiring someone to reline your chimney, only allow the contractor to use a product that has been tested and listed by a nationally-recognized testing laboratory. Also make sure that the contractor is experienced in replacing the type of liner needed for your unit, and that the local fire department approves the liner that you are choosing to use.

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