The holiday season generates an increase in serious burns, primarily because there’s more opportunity for accidental fires during winter months.
5 easy ways to avoid holiday fires
1. Check your outlets and power strips.
It’s easy to overload, especially with decorative lights.
If the strip feels warm, or there are any dark marks around the outlet, shut it down and replace it.
State Farm Insurance suggests looking for CSA or UL certification marks, indicating the lights were tested and met the product safety standards. Due to the high volume and low manufacturing cost, Christmas lights are a common counterfeit.
2. Care for your Christmas tree.
Indoor Christmas trees are very flammable, and often the first thing ignited in a holiday fire.
Get your tree as fresh as possible, and water it every day. Keep it away from fireplaces, wood stoves, candles—any obvious fire sources.
3. If you have a fireplace, ask these questions:
– When was the chimney last cleaned?
– Is the fireplace area clear of clutter and debris?
– Does everyone know the fireplace rules—including not to burn gift wrap? (It can ignite and burn very intensely.)
4. New rule: you can’t leave the kitchen when cooking.
Simply being more attentive can prevent most cooking fires and burns from hot panhandles.
You should move potholders, towels, and any paper away from the stove top.
5. Give your stuff some room.
– Keep holiday decorations away from vents and heat sources.
– Never stack electronics on top of each other.
– Keep space heaters 3 feet away from anything flammable items.
In my nearly 30 years representing injured people, I have seen terrible injuries and fatalities. But some of the very worst injuries I have ever seen are burns.
One more thing …
Check your smoke detectors and fire extinguishers.
Most of us forget to do this regularly—don’t want to wait until a fire has started to find out you forgot to replace smoke detector batteries.
As for your fire extinguisher, do you know where it is located?
If you have to stop and think about it, go find it now.
If it’s expired, pick up a new one while doing your holiday shopping.
Have a safe and happy holiday season!
Get more information on fire and burn prevention from the National Fire Protection Association.
Fire image courtesy of artur84, freedigitalphotos.net. Power cord image courtesy of flickr user State Farm. Post originally published on 12-16-14, updated 12-20-16.