Around the holiday season fires are more prone to occur due to the lighting of trees burning candles and other cooking incidents. The decorations that look good in the home or business can increase the chances of a fire that can lead to extensive damage to a property. The first and most important thing to remember is that all exits need to remain accessible and not blocked by decorations or trees at any time. If these exits are blocked injury or death due to a fire is more likely than if they were open and accessible. Here are some tips to help you keep your home or business safe during the holiday season when it comes to fires.
Indoor trees can present a very significant fire hazard. If you have an artificial tree make sure to check that it has been certified as fire-retardant by its manufacturer. For live trees it is more of a fire hazard. To avoid the tree catching on fire it needs to stay watered daily. Make sure that your tree is not dry and brittle. The needles on fresh trees should be green and difficult to pry off of the branches. A good way to tell if your tree has been freshly cut is by bending the needles. If it bends it is fresh. If the needle breaks than the tree is definitely dry. If you are still unsure bounce the tree off of the ground. If many needles fall to the ground the tree has probably been cut for too long and dried out. This makes the tree a fire hazard. Before you place your tree in the stand cut a couple inches from the base and add water to the stand. It is important to water the tree daily to keep it moist. You should keep the tree away from sources of heat such as a fireplace space heater or heat vent. The heat will dry out the tree and make it more susceptible to being ignited by flame or sparks. It is important to only leave a tree up for about two weeks and be sure to keep the stand filled with water at all times. Dried out trees are fire hazards and should not be left in the home or garage. After you have taken the decorations off of the tree put it by the curb for pickup so it is not near any source of heat in your home.
Holiday lights are prone to becoming an ignition source regardless if they are indoors or outdoors. You should only use lights that have the label of an independent testing laboratory. Also make sure you know whether they are designed for indoor or outdoor use. Do not connect more than three strands of mini-string sets and a max of 50 bulbs for screw-ins. Make sure to periodically check the wires if they are warm to the touch than they may be damaged. You should not use a string of lights that are worn or that have broken cords. You should never overload extension cords or outlets. If you leave your home or are going to bed make sure to turn off your lights beforehand.
If you use lit candles make sure to place them in an area where children cannot reach them and where animals and cords cannot knock them over. Make sure not to place candles near combustible items or where they could catch something on fire. Never leave the house or go to sleep use with candles burning.
It is important to make sure your fire detectors are in working order and that they are on every level of the home. Make sure to call 9-1-1 if you have a fire emergency in your home.