The winter holidays are a time for celebration, and that means more cooking, home decorating, entertaining, and an increased risk of fire and accidents. CIBA recommends that you follow these guidelines to help make your holiday season safer and more enjoyable.
Christmas Trees: Place trees away from heaters, fireplaces and candles, and keep pathways to exits clear. Fresh Christmas trees should be watered daily and excess needles that have fallen off the tree should be cleaned regularly.
Christmas Tree Lights: Flickering candlelight looks beautiful, but real candles should never be used on or near a Christmas tree (the earliest Christmas trees were illuminated by candles). Even Christmas lights can pose a fire safety problem. Frayed wires left unattended can overheat, turning a dry tree into a raging inferno in just seconds. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, home holiday decorations cause over 400 holiday fires each year, resulting in $15 million in property loss and damage. Decorating for Christmas shouldn’t be a hazard. Only use electric lights that are rated for Christmas trees and tested by a recognized laboratory (you’ll usually find a sticker noting the laboratory’s approval on the cord), and keep your tree well watered to reduce flammability. Consider switching to new LED lights that are cooler and use less electricity. Turn off lights when you leave the house or go to bed.
Holiday Candles: Candle fires peak in December and Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve are among the days when the most candle fires occur. Always blow out candles before leaving the room or going to sleep. Burn candles inside a one-foot circle of safety, free of anything that can catch fire.
Holiday Cooking: Cooking is the #1 cause of fires during the holidays, and most commonly occur when cooking is left unattended. So stand by your pan and always stay in the kitchen when cooking. Take a timer with you when baking. If a pan catches fire, put a lid on it to smother the flames and then turn off the heat. CIBA recommends installing automatic stove-top fire extinguishers which are easily installed (usually installs using a magnet) and have a proven record of preventing stove-top fires.
Space Heaters: Space heaters are the second source of most commonly caused fires (behind cooking). Space heaters should be inspected prior to use to insure the heater shows no sign of damage and electric supply cords are not frayed or damaged. Space heaters should be placed at least 3 feet away from anything that can burn like curtains, upholstery, or holiday decorations. Keep warm, keep safe this winter.
Matches & Lighters: Matches and lighters are used extensively during the holidays to light candles and fire places. Children may imitate adults lighting candles and using matches and lighters. Keep them safely out of reach of children.
Extension Cords & Outlets: Extension cord usage is greatly increased during the holidays due to the addition of Christmas lights and decorations. Prior to use, examine each extension cord for damage and fraying, use only extension cords in good condition (never use a “repaired” extension cord). Extension cords should only be used as a temporary connection. Don't overload them and match the cord to the appliance. Never put cords under rugs as this can damage the cord and cause a fire. Additionally, the use of outlet wall adapters (typically installed to change the outlet from 2 outlets to 6) should never be used as over-use of an outlet can cause over-heating and fires. Instead, use an approved UL listed power bar for additional plug-ins. The power bar is designed with an internal limiter and has a proven record of safety.