Holidays and Fire safety
With the recent infernos spreading throughout California we feel the need to remind people about fire dangers here at home. The holidays are fast approaching being able to spend time with the ones that we love. Often that time is spent in the kitchen, next to a roaring fire, creating a mood with some extra candles, curled up in an electric blanket , or even just getting out the chill with a boost of heat from a space heater. With temperatures dipping there is also an increased instance of smoking within in the home as it is simply too cold for some to go outside.
Many of these things are traditions that shape our lives. Yet these are the same traditions that see a spike in disaster this time of the year. We will dissect each of these to ensure you have the tips you need to keep you and the traditions alive.
Smoking inside, this is actually the easiest one to avoid. JUST DO NOT DO IT… The number one cause of deaths from fires every year is this one thing. Many times it is out of exhaustion or combined with something else such as alcohol. Falling asleep with a lit cigarette or other similar device has devastating consequences. So how do you stay safe with this one..
- Stay outside
- Use a deep ashtray ( not the ground is not safe to toss it)
- Fill the ashtray with a sand water combination & keep it far away from anything that can burn
- Stay away from flammable materials such as oxygen and gasoline ( Yup that’s right no smoking in the garage either)
- Use fire safe cigarettes (Yes they exist)
- E-Cigarettes count too…they can explode.. ignite while charging or even in transport be wary and use the same precautions
These fires are caused by a number of different things. Over the holiday season many of us have more lights plugged in to illuminate our lives during season. Extra lights, extension cords, power strips and additional strain on many of the outlets within your home. Before you get started any additional cords need to be checked for frayed wires, cracked, chipped, or chewed( animals like to do that) . Do not overload any one outlet, if you are not sure which outlet coincides with what have a certified electrician check it out for you. Do not run a cord in main walking paths they can pose a tripping hazard but could also be partially pulled out. This could cause serious fire risk from an improper connection. Never use an outlet that does not have the faceplate properly installed. Below is a more entailed punchlist.
- Ensure bulbs match the wattage output of the device
- Do not REPETE DO NOT plug a power strip into another power strip.
- Do not overload an outlet
- Avoid tripping the breaker if you do you have overloaded the outlet.
- Check for frayed, chipped, cracked or chewed wires.
- Place all power strips up off of the floor. ( This keeps it out of reach of kids and pets and water should you have a pipe break.
- Use only 1 heat producing items per outlet. (i.e coffee pot, space heater, toaster etc.
Candles so many people add candles for both religious and aesthetical reasons over the holiday season. The top 3 days for candle fires are Christmas, New Years Eve and New Years day. Falling asleep with a lit candle is a key factor to these fires. Almost 60% were caused because a combustible material was left too close to the lit candle itself. So what do you do to have them safely in your home.
- Blow them out when you leave the room for an extended period of time.
- Keep them 1ft at a minimum away in all directions from flammable materials.
- Use a steady surface
- Use a candle holder with a wide base.
- Do not place in a window
- Keep all matches, ignition materials or combustible materials out of reach of children.
- If someone in the home uses oxygen DO NOT use them no matter the reason.
These are the peak months for heating fires. December, January, February. Many of the electrical and smoking safety tips apply here. Increasing the usage of fireplaces & space heaters. It is essential for all outlets to not be overloaded. Ensure that only one heat producing appliance or large use appliance is plugged into the outlet. Do not under any circumstances use a power strip, or extension cord for these devices.
- Provide proper fire safety glass. ( regular glass will explode)
- Add any necessary screening metal / glass combinations
- Fireplace extensions that are non-flammable to catch any escaping embers or ashes
- Never transfer hot ashes
- No frayed wires
- Keep all heat sources 3ft away from any flammable
Last but certainly not least. Cooking is a significant cause of fires in this country. Most home fires actually stem from cooking. Be it deep frying a turkey ( BAD IDEA), Grease fires, oven or stove top cooking . Cooking is fun, engaging and full of memories made. Make them happy ones. Develop good habits.
- Never leave a flame unattended.
- Keep flammable materials away from the stove. ( towels, oven mitts, wooden utensils etc.)
- Keep decorations away from stoves as well
- Always set incremental timers to periodically check on items in oven 15 min is a good recommendation.
- Use splatter shields.
- Have a portable fire extinguisher with the proper fire rating code on hand.
- Fighting the fire yourself can result in serious injuries. Best to get out and call a professional.
Nothing is guaranteed. Accidents do happen and the best things we can do is be prepared and cautious. It is important to know that if a fire breaks out knowing as soon as possible can and will save your life. Changing the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors every 6 months is the best way to get make sure you are notified right away. You can have a little as 2 minutes to get out of the house once a fire takes hold in a home. Check your cords on everything replace or adjust accordingly, have safe distance from any flammable materials, be diligent about the kids, and pets around kids electricity and flames.
While nothing is 100% guaranteed taking steps to protect yourself, your loved ones as well as neighbors can go a long way. Develop good habits that allow all memories to be ones that we can share and cherish.