Fire Safety tips for the Holidays
The holiday season is an exciting time of the year for most families but that excitement can quickly be extinguished if a fire occurs in the home. The U.S. Fire Administration says that almost 47,000 fires occur during winter holidays taking more than 500 lives. The National Fire Protection Association and U.S. Fire Administration have found that 1 of every 22 home fires started by Christmas trees result in death and candle fires are four times likely to occur during the winter holidays. These are only two of several frequent occurrences during the holiday season for too many families. To help keep your family safe this season, below are some safety tips to follow.
The most common cause of household fires are from cooking. Leaving food unattended is a big reason for this. Before kicking off the holiday cooking season at Thanksgiving be sure to check all smoke detectors to make sure they’re working properly. It’s also always important to keep a fire extinguisher in the home. When you’re cooking keep all paper or plastic bags, kitchen utensils, pot holders and dish towels are kept away from the stove. If you’re going to be cooking with a deep fryer put it at least 10 feet away from your home.
Candles, decorative lights and other seasonal decorations are a big thing for decorating around the holidays. All items should be placed at least 3 ft from any type of heat sources. Prior to using decorative lights check each strand for frayed or cracked wires. Avoid hanging lights on nails or with staples as it could lead to damage to the wiring. If you’ve had lit candles, walk around your home to extinguish them at the end of the evening. The same goes for decorative lights. Prior to leaving your home or going to bed always unplug all lights.
Christmas tree fires are more likely to occur in January after the Christmas season. However, you can never be too safe following these steps to ensure your homes safety. Make sure your tree has fresh, green needles that don’t break easily. Keep your tree fresh by continuing to keep it watered. Never use candles that are lit to decorate your tree. Always unplug your tree lights before leaving for home or going to bed. Have a sturdy tree stand to ensure your tree is stable and won’t fall over.
From our SERVPRO family to yours, we're wishing everyone a safe and joyous season!
Holiday, candle and Christmas tree fire safety
Facts about home holiday fires
- One of every three home Christmas tree fires is caused by electrical problems.
- Although Christmas tree fires are not common, when they do occur, they are more likely to be serious. On average, one of every 31 reported home structure Christmas tree fires results in a death compared to an average of one death per 144 total reported home structure fires.
- A heat source too close to the tree causes roughly one in every four of Christmas tree fires.
- More than half (56 percent) of home candle fires occur when something that can catch on fire is too close to the candle.
- December is the peak time of year for home candle fires.
Source: National Fire Protection Association
Holiday fire hazards
As the holiday season approaches and families gear up for decorating their homes and hosting large gatherings of friends and family, George Hogshead of SERVPRO® of Johnston County reminds homeowners to take note of some sobering statistics about home fire safety from the National Fire Prevention Association:Cooking equipment is the leading cause of home structure fires. The three peak days for home cooking fires are Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and Christmas Eve.1Candles fires peak in December. The top three days for candles fires are Christmas Day, Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.2
“These statistics are a serious reminder of how the excitement of holiday entertaining can quickly turn into a life-altering fire or even a tragic injury or death,” says Hogshead. “While glowing candles and elaborate meals set the stage for a great holiday get-together, homeowners need to exercise extra care in controlling the dangerous potential for fires.”
According to the NFPA3, unattended cooking is by far the leading cause of home cooking fires, with frying posing the greatest fire risk and electric ranges posing a higher risk than gas ranges. Range top cooking in general started the majority of home cooking fires and caused 86 percent of related civilian deaths for the reporting period.
While incidents of candle fires peaked in 2001 and have been falling since, candles are still one of the top 10 causes of U.S. home fires, according to the NFPA. As with cooking fires, unattended or abandoned candles account for a large portion of candle fires–almost 20 percent–but the most frequent cause of candle fires is placing the candle too close to something that can burn, like curtains, decorations or furniture.
“It’s easy to see why cooking and candle fires both peak during the holiday season,” says Hogshead, “and it’s also easy to see why homeowners need to take extra care when decorating their homes or entertaining. A moment’s inattention at the stove or a guest repositioning a candle on a tabletop may be all it takes to turn the festivities into a fight to save property and lives. While our business is fire and water damage restoration and we stand ready to help at a moment’s notice if disaster does strike, our sincere hope is that our friends and neighbors will enjoy a fire-free and festive holiday season.”
For more fire prevention tips and information about fire and water damage restoration services, please visit www.SERVPRO.com. For more information on SERVPRO® of Johnston County, please contact George Hogshead at (919) 359-2599 or GHogshead@nc.rr.com.
Founded in 1967, the SERVPRO® Franchise System is a national leader and provider of fire and water cleanup and restoration services and mold mitigation and remediation. SERVPRO’s professional services network of nearly 1,700 individually owned and operated Franchises responds to property damage emergencies ranging from small individual disasters to multi-million dollar losses. Providing coverage in the United States and Canada, the SERVPRO System has established relationships with major insurance companies and commercial clients, as well as individual homeowners.
National Fire Prevention Month
Servpro of Johnston County fire tips
Stay safe with these fire tips from SERVPRO of Johnston County