Holiday House Fires
It is December and now officially the holiday season - Ho, Ho, Ho! With that comes Christmas trees, decorations, candles, home-cooked meals, and additional heat sources like space heaters or fireplaces. All of these things used to make me smile and make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside until I started working for SERVPRO of Lexington-Bedford & Waltham/Weston/Watertown/Wayland. Now, these festive activities make me concerned for the families that will experience a house fire in the coming months. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, nearly 47,000 fires occur during the holidays claiming over 500 lives, 2,200 injuries, and costing half a billion in property damage. I do not mention these statistics to scare you or to turn you into a Scrooge - I feel an obligation to bring awareness and help keep families safe. Below you can find some holiday home fire preparedness tips from the American Red Cross. If you do experience fire damage give us a call to restore your property and make it, "Like it never even happened."
- 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.
- Purchase flame-retardant metallic or artificial trees. If you purchase a real tree, make sure that it has fresh, green needles that aren’t easily broken. Keep live trees as moist as possible by giving them plenty of water.
- Make sure that light strings and other holiday decorations are in good condition. Do not use anything with frayed electrical cords and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Always unplug tree and holiday lights before leaving home or going to bed.
- Never use lit candles to decorate a tree. Always extinguish candles before leaving the room or going to bed.
- Use only sturdy tree stands designed not to tip over. Keep curious pets and children away from Christmas trees.
- Keep anything that can catch on fire—pot holders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, and towels or curtains—away from your stovetop.
- Designate one person to walk around your home to make sure that all candles and smoking materials are properly extinguished after guests leave.
- Smoke alarms save lives. Install a smoke alarm near your kitchen, on each level of your home, near sleeping areas, and inside and outside bedrooms if you sleep with doors closed. Use the test button to check it each month. Replace all batteries at least once a year.