Each year, more than 300,000 residential fires are reported in the United States. According to the National Fire Protection Association most of these occur during fall and winter months. This increase in home fires is attributed to cooking, heating and holiday decorations but are not limited to those sources.
This truly is the most wonderful time of the year but that can easily changed by home fire. The best way to avoid a fire is to prepare your home and family for the worst. Here are some easy precautions to remember.
This time of year is full of friends and family in the kitchen cooking up endless amounts of yummy food. But according to FEMA's website, cooking is the leading cause of all winter residential fires.
Make sure that all of the cooking equipment you'll be using has been tested and is in good running order. If you'll be cooking outside, find an open space with plenty of area around it for your grill or deep fryer. Have your kids join you in the kitchen this year, but make sure that the stovetop and grill are never left unattended, even for a minute. Leaving something unattended even for a minute can turn a small fire into a large fire.
You may have noticed that the temperature outside is dropping which means it's time for sweaters. And if you have a fireplace you'll be lighting that soon inside. Make sure that you have your chimney shoot inspected and cleaned before the start of the season. Leaving leaves, soot and other debris can be raise your chances of a fire dramatically.
Trimming the tree is most probably a tradition in your house and there are a few things you should look out for before you start. If you take the route of purchasing a natural tree make sure it sits in a base with water. Leaving the tree to dry over the season is a huge fire risk. Also, keep tree away from all heating sources and open fires.
When you purchase lights and other decorations confirm that everything is tested and non-flammable. String holiday lights, whether inside or outside, should be checked for exposed wiring and broken bulbs. Its estimated by the U.S. Fire Administration that 150 home fires are directly related to decorations like holiday lights every year.
Preventing a fire this holiday season depends on your proactive, not reactive, approach. When it comes to preventing fires, get the entire family involved. If everyone knows where to find a fire extinguisher, all potential exits and preventative measures, not only will you avoid a home fire, you'll also instill a sense of responsibility in your kids.