Christmas is only a few quick weeks away, meaning many people are in the holiday spirit. People have exchanged gift lists and started shopping for everyone on their own list. Decorations light up the neighborhood at night, and the children help hang ornaments on the tree. It can be easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle of the holidays, but stay aware this year. Holiday fire disasters can be so devastating.
The American Red Cross published a few sobering statistics from 2013 about holiday fires. Just last holiday season, more than 500 people died in some of the 47,000 holiday fires throughout the nation. Do not let you or a loved one become one of these statistics by taking a few easy steps.
To start with, take care with choosing a Christmas tree. Ideally, purchase a flame-retardant metallic artificial tree because they are easily the safest type of tree. Many people do insist on having a real tree though, so if this is you, pick a healthy tree with the greenest needles and ensure it has water at all times to keep it from drying out. Set the tree up with plenty of space from any heating source such as stoves, fireplaces, radiators, and space heaters. When lighting the Christmas tree, never use candles or live flame. Use string lights made for trees, and avoid using extension cords, which can overload an outlet. Turn off the lights before you go to bed and before you leave for the day. Also, never burn your Christmas tree or wreaths in the fireplace. The resulting hot fire will ignite quickly and could start a chimney fire.
Keep a special eye on candles because the number of fires they cause quadruples during the holiday season. Extinguish every candle before leaving the room or going to bed and ensure every candle has been put out at the end of the night. In addition, secure any decorations near the fireplace. If the stocking starts a fire, hanging it was not worth it.
Another area that frequently results in holiday fires is the kitchen. With a hot oven opening and closing and every burner lit up, take extra time to keep anything flammable away from the cooking area. These flammable items can include paper bags, oven mitts, dish towels, wooden utensils and decorations.
Take note that fire safety does not just pertain to you and your family inside your home. Particularly in northern California, wild fires start without warning, grow rapidly and soon become devastatingly uncontainable. Do your part to avoid one of these wildfires this holiday by playing it safe and keeping an eye on every danger. If you have more fire safety questions or want to speak with a fireplace and chimney specialist, contact White Glove Chimney out of central northern California.