Articles

Fire safety tips for the holiday season

Getting into the Christmas spirit with holiday decorations is all fun and games until something goes wrong.

We want to remind you to use caution when decorations like candles and string lights.

During the five-year period of 2012-2016, candles were reported to have caused 402 residential fires, nine civilian deaths, 31 civilian injuries, eight firefighter injuries and $12 million in fire loss according to USA SFMO data.

A large sum of those fires started from candles in bedrooms.  

December is the time of year for home candle fires to occur, and nearly half of decoration fires happen because decorations are placed too close to a heat source.  Taking a few basic precautions can help prevent these types of fires from occurring and causing a potential tragedy.
 

Fire safety tips:

  • Avoid Using Lit Candles to Decorate. If you do use them, make sure they are in stable holders and place them where they cannot be easily knocked down. Never put lit candles on a tree. Blow out lit candles when you leave the room or go to bed. Never leave a child alone in a room with a lit candle.
  • Maintain Your Holiday Lights. Inspect holiday lights each year for frayed wires, bare spots, gaps in the insulation, broken or cracked sockets, and excessive kinking or wear before putting them up. Not all holiday lights are made equal so be sure that you know whether yours are for indoor or outdoor use and use only lighting listed by an approved testing laboratory. Use clips, not nails, to hang lights to keep cords from getting damaged.
  •  Do Not Overload Electrical Outlets. Do not link more than three light strands, unless the directions indicate it is safe. Connect strings of lights to an extension cord before plugging the cord into the outlet. Make sure to periodically check the wires – they should not be warm to the touch.
  • Do Not Leave Holiday Lights on Unattended. Turn them off when you leave the house or go to bed.
  •  Use Only Nonflammable Decorations. All decorations should be flame resistant or flame retardant and placed away from heat vents and other heat sources.
  •  Never Put Wrapping Paper in a Fireplace. It can result in a very large fire, throwing off dangerous sparks and embers and may result in a chimney fire.
  •  Take Care with Christmas Trees. Do not let live trees dry out. Keep them watered and recycle them promptly after the holiday. If you are using a metallic or artificial tree make sure it is flame retardant.
  • Keep Escape Routes Clear. Do not block exit routes with trees or decorations. 

Whatever you do this holiday season, remember two words:

Enjoy Safely!

Sheqafrica
Sheqafrica.com is Africa's largest online Magazine for the Risk & Compliance profession. It is co-owned by Shane Lishman and the Africa Media Group.
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