The Christmas and New Year Holiday seasons have already started for 2021. It is the time when all of us come out of the routine work life and spend our time with family. Christmas is generally celebrated by lighting candles and decorating trees with decorations and lights, same so for New Year. Unfortunately, this contradictory mix of festival decorations has resulted in many accidents. Between 2015 and 2019, fire departments responded to an average of 160 residential fires caused by Christmas trees every year. Each year, these fires result in an average of two deaths, twelve injuries, and $10 million in direct property damage. A well-equipped Residential Fire Sprinkler Systems could have saved many lives and money. But it is also super important to prevent fire hazards by following a few specific required measures.
Maintaining the Christmas Trees
- When purchasing a tree, ensure that it is fresh, with soft, pliable, green needles that do not come off when touched or lightly shaken.
- Daily water your tree; its base should be soaked at all times. In heated homes, fresh trees dry quickly; two or three days without water may be enough to dry one. Remove the tree after Christmas or when it is scorched.
- Maintain a minimum distance of three feet between your tree and any heat source, such as a fireplace, heater, lighted candle, or lights.
- Ascertain that the tree does not obstruct an exit.
Proper Care on Special Light Decorations
- Utilize only lights that include a designation from a reputable testing laboratory, such as UL. Make proper use of lights marked for indoor or outdoor usage.
- Before plugging in lights, thoroughly inspect them. Replace any string that has worn or damaged cables or bulb connections that are loose.
- Consult the manufacturer’s instructions to ascertain the maximum number of light strands that may be connected safely.
- Never adorn a tree with lighted candles.
- Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving the house or going to bed.
- Never overload a circuit. Seventy strings of 50-bulb tiny lights or between 300 and 600 strings of LED lights may be powered by an ordinary home circuit. If more light strands are required, distribute them over various circuits to avoid an overload. Consider any large appliances before connecting the lights to the same circuit.
- Use a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) in locations where water and electricity may react dangerously. GFCIs continuously monitor the electrical current flowing through them and shut down automatically if the current becomes unbalanced, as when water enters a system. If your outlet has a “test” and “reset” button, it is a GFCI.
Precautionary Measures with Decorations
- Use only flame-resistant or flame-retardant decorations. According to the United States Fire Administration, over half of Christmas decoration fires are caused by combustible materials being put too close to a heat source.
- Keep burning candles at least 12 inches away from flame-prone decorations and other combustible items. Also, make sure you are not holding the candle flame directly up to a fire sprinkler head.
- Maintain lighted candles in secure holders and position them in areas where they cannot be easily knocked over.
- Children and dogs should be kept away from lit candles. The American Red Cross reports that children cause an average of 40 house fires every day during the winter holiday season.
Prevent Kitchen Fire
- While frying, grilling, boiling, or broiling food, remain in the kitchen. According to the NFPA, unattended equipment contributes to one-third of the home cooking fires and half the fatalities.
- Maintain vigilance during cooking. Avoid using the stove or cooktop if you are tired or have taken alcohol.
- Keep flammable objects away from the cooktop. This includes oven mitts, wooden tools, food packaging, towels, draperies, and clothing with broad sleeves.
- Fire blankets are excellent for confining cooking flames, particularly those too large to confine with a lid.
- Turn off the heat and keep the oven door closed to prevent oven fires.
General Precautionary Measures
- Have many fire extinguishers and be familiar with their usage.
- Create and rehearse an emergency escape plan with your family.
- Conduct a fire sprinkler inspection during this winter holiday. With the heightened danger of fire over the holidays, the sprinkler systems in a house must be functional.
- Make visitors aware of your home’s fire escape strategy. Modern dwellings’ synthetic materials cause flames to burn quicker and hotter than ever before, leaving occupants with as little as two minutes to flee.
- Invite smokers to do so outdoors. Remind them to keep their smoking materials with them at all times to avoid little children touching them. Provide smokers with big, deep ashtrays. Before discarding cigarette butts, wet them.
From AmericanFire Inc., the most-trusted Residential Fire Sprinkler Contractor in Los Angeles with over 100 years of combined experience, we wish you a safe Christmas and a prosperous new year. We offer Fire Sprinkler Installation, Inspection, and Maintenance services. Please visit www.americanfireinc.com for further information.