Holiday Fire Safety Tips

Grand Strand Insurance Services

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Dec 02, 2013

The smell of a fresh tree, the sight of beautiful lights, and the sounds of festive music make the holidays a very special time of year. With so much going on during the holidays, it can be easy to overlook important safety measures. Make sure your holiday season is joyous, not dangerous, with the following holiday fire safety tips.

The Christmas Tree

One of the most beautiful, and hazardous, elements of the holiday season is the Christmas tree. If you are purchasing an artificial tree, make sure it bears a "fire-resistant" label. If you are purchasing a live tree, make sure that the tree is freshly cut. Fresh trees can be identified by sticky trunks and needles that do not easily fall off. Trees that are not fresh have dried out and are a serious fire hazard. Trees can easily and very rapidly become engulfed in flames. Make sure you put your tree in a safe spot, away from heating vents, candles, fireplaces, and other sources of open flames or heat. To keep your tree fresh, and reduce the likelihood of it catching on fire, it is important to keep your tree well hydrated. The base of your tree should have plenty of water at all times. Occasionally spraying your tree with water from a spray bottle may also help your tree to absorb water and become more resistant to flames. Make sure your Christmas tree lights are unplugged when spraying your tree with water.


When purchasing or putting up lights, make sure lights you are going to put outside are rated for outdoor usage. These lights are specially designed to better handle the elements.

Lights

Lights are a holiday essential, but they are also a common source of electrical fires. Look over all of your old lights to make sure there are no exposed wires, cracked sockets, or loose connections. Check for worn insulation which can cause electrical shorts and sparks that could start a fire. Replace all of these old damaged lights. Take the time to read the instructions included with your lights to determine how many strings of lights can be connected together safely. Make sure you are not overloading electrical outlets. When purchasing or putting up lights, make sure lights you are going to put outside are rated for outdoor usage. These lights are specially designed to better handle the elements. Never leave the lights on when you are away or asleep. Try to avoid using an automatic timer, but if you do use one, unplug it before leaving the house.

Decorations

Holiday decorations can really put you in the holiday spirit, but without proper attention and care they can be very dangerous. Buy and use only nonflammable or flame-resistant decorations. Decorations should also be kept away from heating vents, radiators, and open flames. If you have small children or pets, make sure decorations are out of reach, something you may normally remember, but can easily forget during the hectic holiday season. Try to avoid using lit candles as much as possible and never put lit candles on or near a Christmas tree.

Kitchen and Fireplace

Lots of cooking and baking tends to go on during the holidays, so prepare by making sure your appliances are working properly. Check for any broken wires, faulty connections, or possible gas leaks. Clean out all of your appliances and vents. This is also a great time to check out your fireplace and chimney to ensure everything is working properly. Never throw wrapping paper in a fire, which can cause the flames to become very large and dangerous in size, possibly resulting in dangerous sparks and a chimney fire.

The holidays should be a fun and festive time of the year, and if you follow these fire safety tips, you will ensure that they will a safe time of the year as well.

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