As we approach the holiday season, it is important to remember that most house fires take place during this time of the year. There are many factors that contribute to this rise in home fires which could include:
- The use of alternative heating sources such as a space heater, wood stove or fireplace
- The installation of Christmas trees that are adorned with electric lights
- Increase usage of candles
- Plugging multiple cords into extension cords
- The storage of presents and other items that are wrapped and stacked close together
- Increased electric and other decorations that create a risk of a source of a fire
It is very important that you take steps to help reduce the risk of fire. Make sure that all of your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are working properly and have fresh batteries. It might be a good idea to buy new fire extinguishers if you don't have them, or to replace older ones which could be years old.
Make sure you constantly water your Christmas tree, unplug the lights when you are not at home or are going to bed, use battery operated candles or make sure all candles are far enough away from any objects that can catch fire, make sure all candles are blown out before leaving the house or going to bed, make sure that all alternative heating sources are properly monitored, check that all extension cords are working properly and are not in disrepair, follow manufacturer's suggestions for the use of extension cords, and do a general inventory of your home to see how you can make it safer.
In addition to taking these important steps to help reduce the risk of a fire you should understand that experts estimate that you have three minutes or less to escape from your house in the event of a fire. The speed at which a fire rages through a house has gone up dramatically in recent years due to the use of synthetic fabrics, pressboard furniture, and a variety of other factors used in making cheaper home goods.
Lastly, develop a fire escape plan and make everyone in your home aware of it in the unlikely event of a fire. This could certainly mean the difference between escaping unharmed or suffering some type of serious injury or in the worst possible case, death.
Have a safe and enjoyable holiday season and be sure to protect you and your family from these potentially tragic situations.