The holiday season has returned, and along with it comes the general anticipation of creating warm memories with friends and loved ones. Between all the roasting chestnuts, yule logs burning, and stockings hanging above lit fireplaces; it makes sense that the American Red Cross cites December and January as the most common months for housefires to occur.
Keep an eye on those Christmas cookies, stay aware of strange smells, and unplug technology when it’s not in use! A 2021 report from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) states that the 5 most common causes of house fires and casualties were, “cooking, heating, electrical distribution and lighting equipment, intentional fire setting, and smoking materials.” If you’re noticing the scent of fish in your home, that could be a huge indicator that you’re in danger of experiencing an electrical fire, and should call your local fire department immediately.
Ensure the efficacy of your fire alarm by getting a replacement every ten years. Many alarms have a test button that should be tested every month. If you hold down the test button, a functioning smoke alarm will begin to sound an alarm. However, if pressing the test button does not activate the alarm, it may be time to replace the batteries, or to get a new one.
In addition to regularly checking your smoke alarms, always make sure to turn off all of your decoration lights before leaving your home. According to the NFPA, “In nearly one-fifth of the Christmas tree fires, some type of heat source, such as a candle or equipment, was too close to the tree.” If you’re still hoping to make your home look merry and bright; use LED lights, which emit significantly less heat than traditional Christmas lights.
An important note for fireplace owners – before the winter weather becomes brutal, schedule an appointment to get your chimney swept. The Chimney Safety Institute of America recommends a yearly sweep to remove the buildup of flammable soot, (did you know 1/8th inch of soot is enough to start a chimney fire?) and to ensure your chimney flue isn’t being inhabited by a nest of animals.
Holidays are meant for enjoying quality time with friends and family. Keeping unwanted fires from igniting this holiday season doesn’t have to be a hassle, just remember to be responsible and to always pay attention to your surroundings.