MyRaleigh

Winter Holiday Fire Safety Tips

Last updated Dec. 21, 2016 - 10:46 am
Christmas fireplace

Winter holidays are a time for families and friends to get together. But that also means a greater risk for fire. Following a few simple tips will ensure a happy and fire-safe holiday season.

HOLIDAY DECORATING

  • Be careful with holiday decorations. Choose decorations that are flame resistant or flame retardant.
  • Keep lit candles away from decorations and other things that can burn.
  • Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use, but not both.
  • Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. Read manufacturer’s instructions for number of light strands to connect.
  • Use clips, not nails, to hang lights so the cords do not get damaged.
  • Keep decorations away from windows and doors.

HOLIDAY ENTERTAINING

  • Test your smoke alarms and tell guests about your home fire escape plan.
  • Keep children and pets away from lit candles.
  • Keep matches and lighters up high in a locked cabinet.
  • Stay in the kitchen when cooking on the stovetop.
  • Ask smokers to smoke outside. Remind smokers to keep their smoking materials with them so young children do not touch them.
  • Provide large, deep ashtrays for smokers. Wet cigarette butts with water before discarding.
BEFORE HEADING OUT OR TO BED

Blow out lit candles when you leave the room or go to bed. Turn off all light strings and decorations before leaving home or going to bed.

FACTS
  • Two of every five home decoration fires are started by candles.
  • Nearly half of decoration fires happen because decorations are placed too close to a heat source.

Source: NFPA Public Education Division

Candle Safety

candles

Candles may be pretty to look at but they are a cause of home fires — and home fire deaths. Remember, a candle is an open flame, which means that it can easily ignite anything that can burn.

"CANDLE WITH CARE”

  • Blow out all candles when you leave the room or go to bed. Avoid the use of candles in the bedroom and other areas where people may fall asleep.
  • Keep candles at least 12 inches away from anything that can burn.

IF YOU DO BURN CANDLES, make sure that you...

  • Use candle holders that are sturdy, and won’t tip over easily.
  • Put candle holders on a sturdy, uncluttered surface.
  • Light candles carefully. Keep your hair and any loose clothing away from the flame.
  • Don’t burn a candle all the way down — put it out before it gets too close to the holder or container.
  • Never use a candle if oxygen is used in the home.
  • Have flashlights and battery-powered lighting ready to use during a power outage. Never use candles.

CANDLES AND KIDS

Never leave a child alone in a room with a burning candle. Keep matches and lighters up high and out of children’s reach, in a locked cabinet.

SUGGESTION

Think about using flameless candles in your home. They look and smell like real candles.

FACTS

  • December is the peak time of year for home candle fires.
  • Roughly one-third of home candle fires start in the bedroom.
  • More than half of all candle fires start when things that can burn are too close to the candle.

Christmas Tree Safety

Christmas fireplace

As you deck the halls this holiday season, be fire smart. A small fire that spreads to a Christmas tree can grow large very quickly.

PICKING THE TREE

Choose a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched.

PLACING THE TREE

  • Before placing the tree in the stand, cut 2” from the base of the trunk.
  • Make sure the tree is at least three feet away from any heat source, like fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights.
  • Make sure the tree is not blocking an exit.
  • Add water to the tree stand. Be sure to add water daily.

LIGHTING THE TREE

  • Use lights that are listed by a qualified testing laboratory. Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use.
  • Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. Read manufacturer’s instructions for number of light strands to connect.
  • Never use lit candles to decorate the tree.
  • Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed.

AFTER CHRISTMAS

  • Get rid of the tree after Christmas or when it is dry. Dried-out trees are a fire danger and should not be left in the home or garage, or placed outside against the home.
  • Check with your local community to find a recycling program.
  • Bring outdoor electrical lights inside after the holidays to prevent hazards and make them last longer.

FACTS

  • One quarter of home Christmas tree fires are caused by electrical problems.
  • Although Christmas tree fires are not common, when they do occur, they are more likely to be serious.
  • A heat source too close to the tree causes roughly one in every four of the fires.

Cooking Safety

Cooking safety

Cooking brings family and friends together, provides an outlet for creativity and can be relaxing. But did you know that cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and home injuries? By following a few safety tips you can prevent these fires.

"COOK WITH CAUTION"

  • Be on alert! If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol don’t use the stove or stovetop.
  • Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
  • If you are simmering, baking, roasting, or boiling food, check it regularly, remain in the home while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you are cooking.
  • Keep anything that can catch fire — oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains away from your stovetop.

IF YOU HAVE A SMALL (GREASE) cooking fire and decide to fight the fire...

  • On the stovetop, smother the flames by sliding a lid over the pan and turning off the burner. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled.
  • For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed.

IF YOU HAVE ANY DOUBT about fighting a small fire…

  • Just get out! When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire.
  • Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number from outside the home.

Contact

Raleigh Fire Department:
310 West Martin Street, Raleigh, NC 27601
FirePrevention@raleighnc.gov
919-996-6115

NFPA Public Education Division:
1 Batterymarch Park, Quincy, MA 02169
www.nfpa.org/education





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