Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Winter Fire Prevention Tips

This time of year should be filled with celebrations and family togetherness.  But we don't want your family to gather together because of a funeral resulting from a house fire.  Sadly the chances of a fire in your home increase during this time of year.

Here are some tips to keep you and your loved ones safe from fires in the winter months.

Holiday Decorations

Christmas tree lights, candles, and misplaced holiday decorations can all be a source of fire.  On average, one of every 40 reported home Christmas tree fires resulted in a death, compared to an average of one death per 142 total reported home fires. 

  • Water your natural Christmas Tree:  a dry and brittle tree will go up in flames very quickly, where as a well watered tree is unlikely to support a small spark erupting into flames.
  • Switch to an artificial tree:  Artificial trees are much less likely to start fire than a natural one.
  • Inspect your lights:  Electrical failures, missing wire insulation, and shorts cause 32% of Christmas Tree fires
  • Keep your tree and all other holiday decorations away from heat sources like space heaters, wood burning stoves and fireplaces.  Do not hang stockings in front of any fireplace while it is lit!
  • Properly dispose of your Christmas tree rather than using it for a bonfire after the holidays are over.  20% of Christmas related fires are from intentionally setting a Christmas tree on fire.


The top 3 days for the most fires from candles are Christmas Day, New Year's Eve, and Christmas Eve.  Use these safety tips whenever you use candles in your home.

  • Keep candles at least 12 inches from anything that can burn.  Over half of all fires from candles (56%) are from combustible materials placed too close to candles.
  • One in every 5 fires result from unattended candles.  Never leave a room with a lit candle in it.
  • Keep all candles out of reach of children.  Never leave children in a room with a lit candle unattended.  And never keep a candle in a child's room.
  • Keep candles on a sturdy surface and away from places where they can be bumped and knocked over.
  • Most fires that result in a death are from candles in bedrooms.  Never fall asleep with a lit candle.
  •  Replace your candles with battery operated artificial candles.  You can even get ones that go on and off with a timer.
  • To keep the holiday scent of candles with out a flame, invest in wax melters.

Home Heating

Who doesn't love to cozy up in front of a beautiful fireplace and a cold, windy winter night?  If you live in an older home, it's likely that you have cold spots or cold rooms so many people resort to space heaters and supplemental heat from fireplaces and wood stoves to keep a home warm.  Use these tips to keep as safe as you can while using these devices.

  • Space heaters cause 33% of home fires and 81% of home heating fire deaths.
  • Keep any combustible materials away from heat sources including drapery, upholstered furniture, mattresses and bedding, and decorations.
  • Failure to clean creosote from chimneys results in over one quarter of home fires.
We want everyone to have a very safe holiday and winter season.  So be smart about fire safety in your home!  For more information about fire safety, please visit the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) website.

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