At Kauffman Co., we want to wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season. Remember to practice good holiday fire safety when you decide to turn up the cheer this winter!
Click on each section in red to learn more about protecting your home or office this season with our holiday safety guide.
Top Fire Hazards During the Holidays…And How to Prevent Them!
As much cheer as the season brings, the holiday also presents many fire hazards. As you gear up with jingles and holly, it’s important to keep your home and workplace a safe and fire-free environment.
Let’s work to keep the wishes warm—and not blazing. Here are the top fire hazards that are known to the holiday season:
Christmas Trees | Flammable Decorations | Light Strings | Lit Candles
Improper Use of Heating Systems | Overloaded Electrical Outlets
Rocking (Safely) Around the Christmas Tree
Every year, an average of 210 residential and commercial fires are caused by holiday trees. Follow these tips from the day you pick out your tree to the day you finally drag it out to the curb to keep your home and family safe.
Your road to fire prevention around the holidays starts with picking the right tree. Choose one with fresh needles that don’t fall to the ground when you touch them.
If you’re getting a fake tree, make sure you check for a UL certification seal. UL certification means your tree is fire retardant. Note: you still need to take precautions with a fire retardant tree—that doesn’t mean fireproof!
Once you get home, choose a place to set the tree that’s at least 3 feet away from heat sources such as:
Make sure the tree also doesn’t block hallways or exits.
Cut two inches from the base of the trunk and place it in the stand. A freshly cut trunk helps the tree soak up water better, which keeps it fresh longer and decreases the fire risk. Don’t forget to add water to the stand daily so that your tree both looks great and minimizes the flammability!
When it’s time to trim the tree, remember to never decorate with lit candles, regardless of whether the tree is real or fake. Replace any damaged strands of lights hanging around from last year.
Only buy UL certified indoor lights as replacements. Newer LED light strands remain cool to the touch, making them a safer choice than older incandescent bulbs.
When hanging up lights, you shouldn’t connect more than three strands to each other or to an extension cord at once.
Always unplug the lights on your tree (and throughout your home) when you leave or go to sleep.
Once the holidays are over, get rid of the tree without delay. Dried-out trees are a BIG fire danger, so don’t let one linger in your home, garage, or outside leaning against the house. A dried-out Christmas tree can go up in flames within seconds!
Never burn the branches or needles in the fireplace. Fir and pine trees are filled with sap, which can be explosive and the needles burn up quickly and fiercely, like tinder. Flames from a burning Christmas tree can flare up quickly and send sparks flying across a room, or can ignite creosote in your chimney and cause a chimney fire.
Hanging Your Decorations with Care
Flammable decorations can be big fire hazards as both homes and offices deck the halls in preparation for the holiday season. To be safe, choose flame resistant decorations to help stem the spread of a fire if one breaks out. Wreaths and paper garland could become kindling if a fire starts. Also, keep non-flammable decorations away from heat sources to further prevent a fire.
If you’re putting up older decorations that get plugged in, check for any damage. A frayed wire or broken bulb could create a spark that could easily start a fire. When selecting replacement holiday lights, make sure you use them in the correct setting. Some are rated only for indoor use while others are safe to use outside.
For hanging lights inside or out, read the instructions regarding how many lights you can safely string together. A maximum of three mini light strands is safe for older lights while a greater number of lower-heat-producing LED lights may be safe to put end-to-end. If you have an extensive lights display, draw power from several circuits to prevent overloading a single one.
Then, when hanging lights, use clips instead of nails to prevent damaging the cords. Turn off lights before leaving or going to bed.
Holiday Candle Safety Tips
To be the safest this holiday season, consider skipping the candles and choosing non-flame decorations instead. You can use air freshener plug-ins to produce the scent you want and flameless candles for the flickering glow you desire!
Entertain Guests Safely (While Still Keeping Them Warm)
While we rarely see a white Christmas in Houston, Texas, the temperatures frequently do get cold enough to merit many people turning on their home’s heating systems at least once during the holiday season.
And when your house is full of holiday guests, the last thing you want is a house fire! According to state Fire Marshal Paul Maldonado, “Home heating fires in Texas and the rest of the United States are mostly caused by human error, particularly through the misuse of portable heaters, wood stoves and fireplaces.”
If you want to have a happy and safe holiday season, follow these holiday fire safety tips!
Test your smoke alarms before guests arrive. When preparing meals, don’t let distractions take you away from the kitchen while something is cooking.
Ask smokers to smoke outside and request that they keep their smoking materials with them so children don’t touch them. Provide large ashtrays for these guests so they have a safe way to dispose of cigarette butts outside.