With nearly 47,000 home fires occurring during the winter holidays, claiming more than 500 lives, causing over 2,200 injuries and costing $554 million in property damage – reviewing fire safety with your family is essential to a happy and safe holiday season.
Of course, no one ever thinks a house fire will happen to them, but according to the American Red Cross, U.S. Fire Administration and the National Fire Protection Association the likelihood of home fires go up dramatically in the winter and holiday months.
Sadly, on average, one of every 22 home fires started by Christmas trees will result in death and 40 home fires per day are caused by children playing. In fact, the number of home fires that the American Red Cross has responded to since 2000 has increased by 10 percent.
The good news is that having a working smoke alarm reduces the chance of perishing in a home fire by almost 50 percent.
Additionally, there are several other precautions that can be taken to decrease the possibility of a fire in the home during the holiday season. These include:
- Place Christmas trees, candles, and other holiday decorations at least three feet away from heat sources like fireplaces, portable heaters, radiators, heat vents and candles.
- Purchase flame retardant metallic or artificial trees. If you purchase a real tree, make sure that it has fresh, green needles that aren’t easily broken. Keep live trees as moist as possible by giving them plenty of water.
- Make sure that light strings and other holiday decorations are in good condition. Do not use anything with frayed electrical cords and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Always unplug tree and holiday lights before leaving home or going to bed.
- Never use lit candles to decorate a tree. Always extinguish candles before leaving the room or going to bed.
- Use only sturdy tree stands designed not to tip over. Keep curious pets and children away from Christmas trees.
- Keep anything that can catch on fire—pot holders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, and towels or curtains—away from your stove top.
- Designate one person to walk around your home to make sure that all candles and smoking materials are properly extinguished after guests leave.
- Smoke alarms save lives. Install a smoke alarm near your kitchen, on each level of your home, near sleeping areas, and inside and outside bedrooms if you sleep with doors closed. Use the test button to check it each month. Replace all batteries at least once a year.
Keep this holiday season safe!!! Ensure that everyone in your home knows the fire exit strategy and that no one EVER goes back into a burning house!
If you or someone you know is interested in buying or selling real estate in the Austin area, please contact Kathleen Bucher at 512.794.6644 or KathleenBucher@mac.com. It would be an honor to earn your business!