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  • Writer's pictureMark Cukro

Winter Safety – Prevent Home Fires – Common Causes

We want everyone to have a safe and enjoyable Holiday Season and sometimes we can overlook simple hazards. Send each resident a letter about fire safety and ask them to be safe, check everything that has the potential to start a fire including their decorations and even the extension cords.

The cold weather is here and that means space heaters will be used more often than usual and that also means there is a higher risk of a fire in someone’s home. Here are a few facts and figures that will hopefully help prevent a fire.

Space heaters, whether portable or stationary, accounted for one-third (33%) of home heating fires and four out of five (81%) of home heating fire deaths.

So, be sure to inspect the heater, the power cord and keep anything flammable such as furniture and curtains away and at a safe distance.

Half (50%) of all home heating fires occurred in December, January and February.

If there is a power loss: Do NOT use any type of grill, charcoal, or heater that is designed to be used outside indoors. It is dangerous and can fill a home with fatal levels of Carbon Monoxide.

Do NOT use Indoors

Batteries: It is a great idea to put new batteries in smoke detectors but be sure NOT to throw batteries in the garbage or store them loose in a junk drawer. If the terminals of the battery touch something conductive such as tin foil, steel wool or even a gum wrapper it can start a fire. Put tape over the terminals and/or dispose of them in safe way.

Candles: The top three days for home candle fires are Christmas, New Year’s Day and Christmas Eve.

Roughly one-third (36%) of home candle fires started in bedrooms. These fires caused 39% of the associated deaths and 45% of the associated injuries.

December is the peak time of year for home candle fires. In December, 11% of home candle fires began with decorations compared to 4% the rest of the year.

Facts and figures

Ranges or cooktops accounted for the majority (61%) of home cooking fire incidents.

Ovens accounted for 13%.

Electrical distribution or lighting equipment was involved in 38% of home Christmas tree fires.

One-fifth (20%) of the decoration fires started in the kitchen.

One out of six (17%) started in the living room, family room or den.

Fresh trees are less likely to catch fire, so look for a tree with vibrant green needles that are hard to pluck and don’t break easily from its branches. The tree shouldn’t be shedding its needles readily.

Always place your tree away from heat sources like fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights and keep the tree base filled with water to avoid a dry out

Make sure all your indoor and outdoor Christmas lights have been tested in a lab by the UL or ETL/ITSNA for safety and throw out any damaged lights.

Keep all your holiday candles away from your Christmas tree, surrounding furniture and décor.

Bedtime means lights off ­ don’t forget to turn your Christmas tree light switch each night

When your tree begins to drop its needles, it’s time to say goodbye to your evergreen foliage until next year. So this year, follow our guidelines to avoid being another statistic in the National Fire Protection Association or United States Fire Administration report during the upcoming holiday season.

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