What is the first word that comes to mind when you think of home? Perhaps you picture your home as a quiet haven, a fortress, or a retreat for you and your family. We often take for granted that our homes are safe places.
Yet in terms of fire hazards, our homes are often high-risk.
The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) lists its latest estimates on major fire causes on their website. Six of the nine major fire causes listed include the word “home.”
- Electrical failures in home fires
- Home candle fires
- Home cooking fires
- Home fires involving electrical distribution of lighting equipment
- Home fires started by children playing
- Home heating fires
During the holidays, homes face an even higher risk of fire with Christmas trees and lights, candles and extra cooking for all the family.
So what precautions can you take to protect your family and your home from fires this holiday season? Here are some tips on Holiday and Christmas Tree Fire Safety from the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA).
There’s nothing like the smell of a Douglas or Frasier Fir tree filling your family room. Unless you’re willing to substitute a live tree for an artificial tree and an evergreen air freshener, you will want to take note of some simple measures to prevent Christmas tree fires.
- Select a tree with green, fresh needles that do not break easily. A quick “bounce” test will show how many needles fall off the tree and how dry it is.
- Is the base of the tree sticky to the touch? In this case, sticky is a good sign.
- Water your tree regularly to keep it from drying out.
- Place your tree far away from heat sources, such as fire places, heating vents and space heaters.
- Don’t keep your tree up too long. Two weeks is a good rule of thumb.
- Don’t try to burn tree branches in a stove or fireplace.
- Drop your tree off at a recycling center, or place it out front for your community trash pick-up service.
Enjoy your holiday traditions! Just don’t get too wrapped up in all the excitement that you forget simple, but important, chores like watering the tree and turning off the lights before you turn in for the night.
Next time, we’ll take a look at candle safety and steps you can take to protect your home this season.