House fires are a very real risk during the holiday season, and these fires can have devastating consequences. Even if everyone gets out of the house safely, fires can still cause significant property damage, and they can destroy family keepsakes and other important possessions. With this in mind, here are five tips for preventing house fires during the holidays.
5 Tips for Preventing House Fires During the Holidays
Tip #1: Never Leave the Kitchen Unattended
During the holidays, it can be tempting to put something on the stove or in the oven and then join the rest of the family until the timer goes off. But, this can be dangerous, and it is best to never leave the kitchen unattended while food is cooking. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), cooking fires are the leading cause of house fires.
Tip #2: Never Leave Candles Unattended
Candles are popular holiday decorations, and while they should just burn until the wax is gone, this doesn’t always happen. The National Safety Council (NSC) recommends never leaving candles unattended, and it also recommends:
- Placing candles where they cannot be knocked down or blown over
- Placing candles out of the reach of children
- Placing candles away from combustible decorations and flammable home goods
- Keeping matches and lighters up, away and out of reach
- Using battery-operated candles instead of real ones
Tip #3: Never Leave a Fireplace or Space Heater Unattended
Are you noticing a theme? Any unattended heat source is a potential fire hazard in the home. Many people do not think of space heaters as dangerous; however, if they are placed too close to curtains or they fall over onto carpet, they could potentially ignite and cause a fire.
If you have a wood fireplace that you will be lighting this holiday season, only plan to light it when you can stay home until the fire burns out completely. If you have a gas fireplace, be sure to switch it off when you leave the house or the family moves into another room.
Tip #4: Check Your Holiday Lights and Use Them in Appropriate Locations
After a year in storage, holiday lights won’t necessarily be in the same condition they were the last time you used them. Before stringing lights inside or outside of your home, carefully inspect them for signs of wear. Make sure you do not use lights outside that are intended for indoor use only and follow the manufacturers’ recommendations regarding the use of extension cords and surge protectors.
Tip #5: Clean Up
From wrapping paper strewn about the living room to ashes in the fireplace and from dried-out wreaths and trees to dirty pots and pans, anything that is combustible or flammable presents a potential fire risk. So rather than letting these things accumulate, take a moment to clean them up and reduce the risk of something catching on fire.
Contact Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A.
Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A. is a New Jersey law firm that represents individuals and families following traumatic accidents. If you need help dealing with the aftermath of a house fire during the holidays, please call 877-435-6371 or contact us online for a confidential consultation.