National Home Fire Safety Week
The holiday season is a time of joy, of family gatherings, and of celebrating.
As we deck the halls light up our homes with decorations and fill it with the smells of the meals we’re sharing, it’s essential to be aware of the increased fire dangers that come with this time of year.
National Home Fire Safety Week is November 24-30, and the Canada Safety Council is calling attention to the myriad of fire risks present during the holiday season.
“Home fires are a silent threat that can devastate lives in an instant,” said Gareth Jones, President and CEO of the Canada Safety Council.
“Practicing fire safety mindfully, with an eye toward prevention over reaction, we can all do our part in keeping our homes and loved ones safe.”
It is a well-established trend that home fires are more frequent during the winter months — the U.S.-based National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) indicates that most fires occur on an annual basis between December 15 to 31, while the Red Cross indicates they are most likely to occur between December and March in Canada.
Read on for information on four of the main culprits for home fires during the holiday season, and tips on how to keep your home safe during the holidays and beyond.
1. Christmas Trees:
Fire Danger: Christmas trees can pose a significant fire hazard. Real trees can dry out, making them highly flammable. Artificial trees, particularly those with built-in wiring, can also present electrical fire risks.
- Keep trees away from heat sources, including radiators, baseboard heaters and fireplaces.
- Check artificial trees for any damage to wiring or insulation.
- Ensure that real trees are kept watered on a regular basis.
2. Decorative Lights:
Fire Danger: Light strings and sets can overheat, causing electrical fires, especially if used improperly or if the lights are old and damaged.
- Inspect lights for damage before use, replacing any frayed or exposed wires.
- Don’t overload outlets or extension cords with too many lights.
- Unplug lights when leaving the house or going to bed.
Fire Danger: Candles can be a major fire hazard if left unattended or placed too close to flammable objects.
- Never leave candles unattended. Keep them out of reach of children and pets.
- Place candles on stable, non-flammable surfaces, away from curtains, decorations, and paper products.
- Consider using battery-operated LED candles as an alternative that carries a lower fire risk.
4. Cooking and Baking:
Fire Danger: Preparing holiday meals often includes an increased use of stovetops, ovens, and kitchen appliances, all of which can lead to kitchen fires if not carefully managed.
- Never leave cooking unattended, even for a minute! Use timers as reminders to check your dishes when they’re done.
- Keep flammable items, like dish towels and oven mitts, away from heat sources.
- Ensure your cooking area is well-ventilated.
During the holiday season, it is crucial to prioritize safety.
Follow these home fire safety tips and you’ll be well on your way to enjoying a festive and, importantly, a safe holiday season.