It’s the holiday season and once again we celebrate with family and friends. Unfortunately the holidays also mean a surge in home fires. The Red Cross wants you to be safe from home fires this holiday season.
The U.S. Fire Administration and the National Fire Protection Association state that nearly 47,000 fires occur during the winter holidays. These fires claim more than 500 lives, cause more than 2,200 injuries and cost over $500 million in property damage. The most common causes of home fires are from Christmas trees, candles and children playing.
What You Can Do To Be Safe
Here are some important things you can do to reduce your risk of home fires this season:
- Place Christmas trees, candles, and other holiday decorations at least three feet away from heat sources like fireplaces, portable heaters, radiators, heat vents and candles.
- When choosing a Christmas tree purchase one that is flame retardant metallic or artificial.
- If you do choose a real tree ensure that it’s fresh and that green needles aren’t easily broken. And remember – keep live trees as moist as possible by giving them plenty of water.
- Before stringing your holiday lights check them over to ensure that there are no frayed electrical cords, that they are in good working condition, and that they are used according to the manufacturers instructions.
- Make sure to unplug your tree and holiday lights when you leave the house and when you go to bed.
- Never leave burning candles unattended and make sure to extinguish them when going to bed.
- Designate one person to walk around your home to make sure that all candles and smoking materials are properly extinguished after guests leave.
- Holidays mean lots of cooking and baking. However the kitchen is also one of the most common places for a home fire to start. When using potholders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper, kitchen towels, and other flammable items, be sure to keep them well clear of the stovetop.
Smoke Detectors Save Lives!
This is a great time of year to check your smoke detectors to ensure they are installed and working properly. Smoke detectors should be installed on every floor and outside every bedroom and sleeping area in your home. To test if your detector is functioning effectively, press the test button for a few seconds. If you hear the beep you know it’s working. Make sure to re-test your detector once per month and replace the batteries every six months.
How You Can Help!
The Red Cross is partnering with local organizations, agencies, clubs, schools and businesses to perform door-to-door outreach days in neighborhoods throughout Northern Nevada. Your volunteer assistance is greatly needed, and greatly appreciated. Please visit http://www.redcross.org/local/nv/reno/home-fire to sign up today!
And please be sure to visit http://redcross.org/homefires for more information on how to keep your home fire safe during the holidays.