The holiday season is often celebrated with warmth and light, but unfortunately, it is also a time when fire incidents occur. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), 30 percent of all home fires and 38 percent of home fire deaths occur during winter, particularly from December to February.
From 2015 to 2019, cooking was the leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries, while smoking was the leading cause of home fire deaths. Faulty electrical wirings and lighting equipment have also been known to cause fire accidents. From cooking to electricity use, there will be a lot of that during the holidays, which increases the risk of catching fire.
Fire can start with a spark and lead to major damages, from the destruction of property and assets to loss of lives. In the US, fire incidents resulted in over $44.2 billion in property loss in 2021, and $8.9 million came from residential properties, including houses and apartments.
Your home is where you should feel the safest. Therefore, ensuring that you prevent fire incidents and that everyone will have a safe and enjoyable holiday season is important.
Below you’ll find five preventive measures to take in case of fire outbreaks that may occur this holiday season.
Unplug All Unused Electrical Appliances
From Christmas lights to using the oven in your kitchen, you will likely use electricity and electric devices more during the holiday season. Especially when winter comes, you will also need to use your home heating system. As you enjoy the warmth and liveliness of the holidays with all the lights, it’s important to be cautious and mindful when using electrical appliances.
Excess current electricity flowing through items in the home can always be a potential fire hazard. Appliances such as TV sets, computers, and game systems should be switched off when unused.
If you already have some installed, see if it is still in working condition. Ideally, get a professional to check it for you to ensure it will not fail should there be any fire accidents.
Keep Debris Down
Debris, like firewood, leaves, and other flammable materials, can easily catch fire from stray ashes or sparks. Sometimes, they can even fire up when exposed to the sun’s heat for too long. Make sure to keep debris as far away from your home as possible. Sweep and dispose of them properly.
If you use firewood for your fireplace, it is important to store it safely outside your home. Only bring enough firewood inside for you to use from time to time. But even then, sometimes ashes and embers are inevitable, especially for residents of woodlands who face a higher risk of fire hazards.
So with that in mind, consider getting insurance coverage from trusted provider. A national company, like Travelers home insurance, is an ideal choice if you need a recommendation for a property casualty specialist.
Keep Flammable Items Away From Heat
The most effective ways of preventing fire are being prepared, cautious, organized and tidy. Keeping everything clean and stored properly can help you manage the holiday rush better.
Keep flammable items away from heat or fire. This particularly includes items like fabrics, paper, ribbons, dried leaves and other ornaments used as decor, and even hair, faux-fur rug and more.
Avoid placing these items near areas with excessive heat or flame to prevent potential fire hazards. You must keep an eye on your fireplace, stove, and candles. It is also important to put a fire extinguisher near these areas so anyone can put out the fire immediately if it goes out of control.
Use of Power Surge Protection
During the holiday season, homes are often filled with lights and music – everything electronic. These devices are prone to damage and cause an electrical fire due to a power surge. Power surges are sudden spikes or disturbances in your electricity source. An internal or external source can cause it.
60 to 80 percent of power surges are due to internal causes. This is primarily due to switching large electrical loads on and off. External factors include lightning and damaged power lines and/or transformers within your area.
Prevent possible accidents by ensuring that all electronics within your home are plugged into surge protectors. Conduct regular inspections for your wirings and circuit breakers, and always ensure that all your electronic devices are in the best condition, especially for the holiday season.
Take Care With Oils and Gases
Oils and gas are easy causes of fire. They are highly flammable and can react with even the smallest embers from cigarettes or a tiny spark. Store these flammable chemicals in a cool, dry place, far from any internal heat source or sparks.
The risk of an outbreak is cut down to the bare minimum by carefully containing these things in approved containers as well. Keep them safe from anything that could react with them, especially fire. Store them in a space outside, far from your own house. This way, it won’t raise the risk of fire accidents or aggravate them.
Have a Fire-Free Holiday Season
Despite winter, the holiday season is often warm and filled with celebration. Celebrate it with family and friends with warmth and nothing but sparks of joy and hope—away from fire hazards and accidents. Be mindful of electric and electronic devices, as well as your usage of electricity.
Equip your home with the right tools and devices to detect, prevent, and control fire. Keep your loved ones safe this season by taking effective preventive measures for fire hazards. This way, everyone can feel more comfortable and free to enjoy and be merry during the holidays.