Between last minute shopping, numerous holiday gatherings, and of course, yuletide traffic, house fires are not likely to be at the top of your December list of worries.
However, no matter what your religion or affiliation, the emblems of the season involve flames or the flammable: menorahs, kinaras, and Christmas trees with lights.
While each item comes with its very own historic, religious, and symbolic meanings, they can also pose very serious fire hazards if you are not cautious around them.
The Important Facts
According to the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) November 2015 report, Christmas trees can be a major source of fuel in a house fire. Christmas trees were the first item ignited in an estimated average of 210 home structure fires per year, resulting in $17.5 million in direct property damage.
Of these fires, only ten percent of the damage caused by the flames was confined to the object of origin, and only 31 percent was confined to the room of origin. This means that if your fire starts at your Christmas tree in your living room, the damage it causes will likely not be limited to that tree and the living room. Rather, will extend to the surrounding rooms of your homes and objects therein.
Almost a quarter of these fires were the result of a heat source too close to combustibles (candles, fireplaces, etc.). Another 30 percent were the result of electrical failure or malfunction (blown fuses, etc.).
Scarily enough, one of every 31 reported home Christmas tree fires resulted in a death, compared to an average of one death per 144 total reported home fires. It is very important that you take every precaution throughout the holiday season in order to protect yourself, your property, and your loved ones.
How To Prevent A Fire
So what does this mean for you and your family during the holiday season?
The NFPA and Christmas Tree Association have come up with some suggestions to keep your home and family safe this holiday season.
- If your family uses a real tree, be observant and pick a fresh one. Look for vibrant green needles that are hard to pluck and don’t break easily from the branches.
- If your living room looks like a field of pine needles soon after your tree arrives home, that’s a sign that the tree is not fresh, and could pose a serious fire hazard.
- Place your tree away from heat sources like fireplaces, radiators, candles, and heat vents.
- Keep the tree base filled with water to avoid a dry out.
- Throw away damaged lights or lights that seem to malfunction.
- To prevent the lights from getting hot next to the needles, don’t leave the lights on overnight.
- For those celebrating Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, if you use real fire candles, be sure to keep an eye on the flames and extinguish them at the end of the night.
- Never leave any flames burning when no one is home. If you use electric candles, be sure to turn them off each evening.
Should an accident occur, it is important that you seek help in order to assess the damages incurred. We are here to help you get back on track as quickly as possible. If you’ve had an accident, click to contact us today for a free consultation.
Wheeler, DiUlio, & Barnabei wish you a very happy and healthy holiday season!