Holiday Safety Tips
Holiday Safety Tips
The holidays offer many opportunities for family and friends to gather, but they also come with an increased fire risk. With a little extra attention and care, you can help your family have a happy and safe holiday season.
The holidays don’t feel like the holidays without delicious food. While cooking always presents potential fire hazards, home cooking fires always spike up around the holiday season.
When you have lots of cooks in the kitchen, it’s easy for things to get messy and confusing. However, a cluttered, chaotic kitchen is a hazardous kitchen. Make sure to keep flammable objects, like towels, packaging, and potholders, away from the stove. Communicate with everyone in the kitchen so you don’t leave the stovetop or oven on when it’s not in use. Wipe up spills quickly, and don’t let grease pile up around a burner.
If a deep-fried turkey is on the menu, make sure you fry it on a flat surface outside at least 10 feet away from the house.
While holiday lights can add a fun ambience to your home, it’s important to decorate safely. When you first open a package of new lights or crack open a box of previously-loved strands, take time to inspect each strand. If you find frayed or cracked wires or any broken sockets, return them or throw them away.
Don’t put more strands of lights on your tree than the packaging recommends. Overloading trees (and outlets) are a common cause of holiday fires. Unplug your holiday lights (and tree, if applicable) before you go to bed or leave the house.
If you want to hang lights outside, don’t use nails or staples as they can damage the wiring. Invest in quality hooks or hangers. Once the holidays are over, take down all outside lights. Small animals, like squirrels, may start chewing on the wires if you leave them up all year.
If your family uses menorahs for Hanukkah, you could consider using an electric one to cut down on fire hazards. If you prefer traditional candles, just be careful.
Keep the menorah at least three feet away from flammable items, and make sure you place a non-flammable surface, like an aluminum foil-lined tray, underneath the menorah to catch the melting wax.
Setting up the Christmas tree can mark the beginning of the Christmas holiday for many families. Unfortunately, if they are not properly set up and taken care of, they pose a large fire risk.
Keep the Christmas tree at least three feet away from fireplaces or heating elements in your home.
If you prefer a live Christmas tree, make sure to care for it properly. A dry tree can start to engulf a room in flames within a minute of ignition. Help reduce fire risks with the following guidelines:
- Buy a fresh tree. When you first choose the tree, the pine needles should be green and not easily broken.
- Cut off the bottom. When you get the tree home, cut two inches of the bottom to create a raw cut so the tree can soak in water.
- Water the tree daily. Well-watered trees are less likely to catch fire.
- Throw it out promptly. No matter how much you water it, your tree will dry out over time. Once the pine needles start to fall off and the tree starts to dry, it’s time to throw it out.
If you choose an artificial tree, consider flame-resistant or flame-retardant options.
Taking steps to prevent holiday fires can help reduce the risk, but there’s always a possibility of a fire. If your home suffers fire damage, SERVPRO of Matteson-Homewood can help.
We have the knowledge and experience to properly treat fire and smoke damage to make your home “Like it never even happened.” We offer 24/7 emergency service; call us anytime at (708) 747-9925.