The holidays are supposed to be a time of joy and laughter with family gathered to share good food, play board games, watch movies, and laugh together. All too often, however, the holidays often end in tragedy. According to the American Red Cross, nearly 47,000 fires occur during the winter holidays. These fires claim more than 500 lives, cause more than 2,200 injuries, and wind up costing $554 million in property damage. Additionally, December is the month in which most home fires occur, especially right around Christmastime.
In spite of these grim facts, there are plenty of things that you can do to protect yourself, your family, and your loved ones from fire. Follow our 6 handy tips below!
Choose Your Tree Wisely – You might have your tree chosen, set up, and decorated this year, but if you don’t or if you plan on purchasing a different tree once the holidays are celebrated, choose a flame retardant or artificial tree. If you like live trees, make sure that the tree has fresh green needles and give it plenty of water. A dry tree can go up in flames in a matter of seconds.
Placement Is Everything – Now that you have your tree, make sure that you place it and your candles and other holiday decorations at least 3 feet away from the heat sources in your home. This includes your fireplace, portable heaters, radiators, heat vents, and candles in the vicinity.
Check Your Lights – When you put the lights on the tree, make sure to give the strings and bulbs a once-over. If they look frayed or broken, do not put them on. Instead, purchase new sets. Any frayed cords or broken bulbs can easily spark and start a fire.
Extinguish and Unplug Before Leaving – Before you head out, even if it’s for a few minutes, remember to blow out all of your lit candles and unplug the tree and holiday lights. Do this before you go to bed every night as well.
Keep Little Ones and Pets Away – Do you have any curious critters or family members that want to get a better look at your lit tree? Don’t let them! Keep them far away from anything that can catch on fire, including the tree, candles, your stove and oven, and other fire sources.
Check Your Smoke Alarm – The American Red Cross reports that having a working smoke alarm reduces your chances of dying in a fire by nearly 50%. Go around your home and either install much-needed smoke alarms, especially near your kitchen and by the bedrooms, or test the ones that are already there to see if they work. If they don’t go off, replace the batteries. Still not working? Install a new alarm. It’ll be worth the money and effort, trust us.
We hope these tips will help you have a happy and safe holiday week and New Year! Remember, you can always call us here at 1-800-766-MMIC to ask us any questions or update your home insurance, and you can read more helpful tips at www.madisonmutual.com!