Safety tips this Christmas Season
During the holidays, many people try to fit as many lights and other electrical devices to accommodate holiday lighting, decorations and cooking appliances, unknowingly increasing the potential for electrical fires and outages, says Joel Worthington, president of Mr. Electric, a Neighborly company which is one of the nation’s leading residential and commercial electrical service providers. Since 25 percent of Christmas tree fires are caused by electrical problems, always follow this checklist.
Inspect lights first. Before plugging in a strand of lights, examine the cord for damage. Throw away any frayed, kinked or worn light strands.
Turn off all lights and decorations before leaving the house or going to bed. To avoid braving the cold every night, install a timer to automatically turn on the lights at dusk and turn them back off at dawn (or earlier if you prefer).
Keep your tree hydrated. Just two or three days without water could be enough to dry out a Christmas tree, so water it every day. Once a tree is dry, it can catch fire easily so it should be discarded.
Candles may provide a festive ambiance and delightful fragrance, as well as providing a count down to Christmas with your Advent wreaths, but they’re also responsible for starting two out of every five home decoration structure fires each year. This is especially true during the holidays when the top three days for home candle fires are Christmas, New Year’s Day, and Christmas Eve.
Get flame without the fire. Consider replacing traditional candles with flameless, battery-operated types, but don't forget to turn them off when leaving the house as LED lights do get hot.
Don't leave the room. Never leave a candle burning unattended and, if you're going to be stepping away from the candle for several minutes, it's safer to blow it out rather than risk a potential hazard.
Use caution when decorating with candles. Always use a sturdy candle holder to keep it from tipping over or touching flammable surfaces. When decorating, keep candles at least 12 inches away from all flammable items.
According to a 2016 report from the National Fire Protection Association, a leading factor contributing to home heating fires was the failure to clean chimneys. Since this chore involves more than sweeping soot, it’s best to hire a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep, says Ashley Eldridge, education director for Chimney Safety Institute of America.
Fireplaces and chimneys should be inspected by a professional chimney sweep every year — and again halfway through the season for new wood-burning installations, such as fireplaces or wood-burning stoves.
Take great care as well with your decorations around the fireplace. Make sure that all decorations are clear of the fireplace in order to avoid your stockings or Christmas wreaths catching fire.
Finally, clear out the debris and ash from your fire pit to ensure for a safe and controlled fire.
SERVPRO of Southwest Waukesha County wants you to be as safe as possible, but in the event of a fire give us a call at (262) 542-0900.
We wish everyone a safe and healthy Christmas season.