Of all the fires that occur in homes throughout the United States, 30 percent occur during the months of December, January, and February. The holiday season is filled with joy and family, but all the decorations, cooking, and your beautiful Christmas tree put you at a higher risk of suffering a devastating fire.
Understanding how fires are started during the holidays and how to prevent them is the best way to ensure the holidays remain bright. Check out these tips to help you prevent holiday-related fires.
Switch to Decorative LED Lights
LED, or light-emitting diode, bulbs are 90 percent more efficient than traditional light bulbs and will provide for up to 50,000 hours of use. Investing in LED bulbs is also safer, especially when you use them on your Christmas tree and throughout your home during the holidays. Traditional bulbs require more energy to produce light, which also means they produce more heat.
LED bulbs require less energy and produce less heat. Stringing LED bulbs on your tree minimizes the chance of the heat produced by the bulbs causing a fire.
And here are a few more tips to help you safely decorate with holiday lights:
- Inspect each strand and bulb. Watch for broken bulbs and frayed wires. Do not use any lights that have exposed wires or signs of fire damage.
- Avoid stringing too many strands. Never string more than four to five strands of lights together because any more could overload the outlet and electrical panel.
- Set a timer. Timers not only help you use less electricity, but they also allow you to keep the lights off when you're sleeping or out of the house, reducing the risk of fire.
- When decorating your home's exterior, choose products rated for outdoor use, and always follow the manufacturer's recommendations.
If you follow these tips, you will reduce the risk of fire damage caused by your lights.
Care for Your Christmas Tree
Choose a live Christmas tree that is lush and green. A tree that is dry and losing needles is more of a fire hazard. Water the tree daily to prevent it from drying out. Avoid placing anything flammable on your Christmas tree, including lit candles. Unplug any lights on the tree before leaving. Choose an artificial tree that is flame resistant.
Whether you choose a real or artificial Christmas tree, make sure it is set up at least three feet away from a fireplace, space heater, or any other heat source.
Decorating Your Fireplace
Avoid placing any decorative items near the open flame. If you're hanging stockings or displaying pieces in front of the fireplace, move them before starting a fire. Never start a fire with wrapping paper. The products used to decorate paper are highly flammable. Store a fire extinguisher near the fireplace in case of emergency.
Never dispose of your Christmas tree by burning it in your fireplace. Only burn seasoned and dried wood.
Install and Maintain Smoke Detectors
According to the US Fire Administration, you should replace your smoke alarm at least every 10 years. Install smoke detectors in each bedroom, near all stairways, and on each level, including the attic and basement. Because smoke rises, you should always install smoke alarms on the wall near the ceiling or on the ceiling. Test your smoke alarms according to the manufacturer's directions at least once a month.
Replace the batteries in your smoke detectors at least once a year. Read the manufacturer's instructions before replacing the batteries to ensure you are using a recommended brand and model of battery.
The risk of fire is higher during the holiday season, and understanding how to prevent an accidental blaze is the best way to keep your family safe. If you have any additional questions, contact the professionals at DRC Fire & Water Restoration.