December, January and February are the leading months for US home fires and home fire deaths, more than one-third of all home fire deaths occur during these months.
Heating equipment fires are the second leading causes of fire deaths in American homes, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). When purchasing new heating equipment, NFPA advises selecting equipment with the mark of an independent testing laboratory. Install and maintain heating equipment correctly, and be sure it complies with local fire and building codes. Correct installation, maintenance and fueling go a long way towards preventing heating fires.
- Regularly clean chimneys in fireplaces and woodstoves.
- Place things that can burn far away from space and portable heaters.
- Flaws in design, installation or use are a major risk to you and your family’s safety.
- Make sure liquid or gas heaters are fueled properly.
- Do not leave portable or space heaters unattended.
Holiday Season Safety Issues
- Selecting a Tree: Needles on fresh trees should be green, and the trunk should be sticky to the touch. Bounce the tree against the ground, if many needles fall the tree is not fresh and a safety hazard.
- Caring for the Tree: Do not place your tree close to a heat source, heat will dry out the tree and can be easily ignited by flames. Keep the tree stand filled with water. The tree shouldn’t be up longer than two weeks.
- Disposing of the Tree: When the tree becomes dry, discard it. The best way is to take it to a recycling center or find out when the City is collecting them.
- Maintain Holiday Lights: Inspect holiday lights each year for frayed wires, bare spots, and broken or cracked sockets before putting them up. Use only lighting marked with an approval from a testing laboratory.
- Do Not Overload Electrical Lights: Do not link more than three light strands, unless the directions indicate it is safe.
- Do Not Leave Holiday Lights on Unattended
- Use Only Nonflammable Decorations
- Never Put Wrapping Paper in a Fireplace
- Avoid Using Lit Candles: If you do use them, make sure they are in stable holders and place them where they cannot be easily knocked down. Never leave the house with candles burning.
- Never Put Lit Candles on a Tree.