Can it be that Christmas is already upon us again? To help you through both Christmas and New Year’s safely, we have a few more safety reminders to keep you, your loved ones and your home safe this holiday season.
FLICKERING CANDLES IGNITE EASILY
As we’ve mentioned before, candles are high on the list of holiday house fire starters. Many firefighters recommend that you don’t use lit candles in your decorating at all. However, if you do use them, minimize their use and enjoy them with common sense.
For instance, make sure all candles are in stable holders. Ensure they are away from flammable materials such as curtains, decorations, your table’s centerpiece boughs and things like that. It isn’t just adults that are intrigued with the candles; pets and little children are attracted to them like moths to a glowing light. Kids want to get close and then their little fingers play in the wax and then, the dog wants to play too spills the hot wax which catches fire! There are plenty of stories to be told about candle wax, most could have been prevented. Candles placed up and out of reach are the happier stories. Don’t leave lit candles unattended and make sure they’re totally out before you leave the house or head to bed.
Better yet, use the new battery-operated candles that are more and more life-like and let the kids play! They are inexpensive and a great gift.
BE SAFE IN THE KITCHEN
With the hectic comings and goings of holiday preparations and entertaining, folks can become more scattered-brained and even more forgetful than usual. While the Christmas tree is the leading cause of specific holiday fires, overall the leading cause of December residential building fires involves cooking! So for safety’s sake, make sure to keep a watchful eye while you’re cooking and baking this year. (A substantial increase in cooking fires emerges on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Then in the first few days after Christmas, cooking fires drop below average, rising again on New Year’s Eve.)
When you cook, make sure you roll up your sleeves and tuck in loose clothing. If a pan catches fire, put a lid on it if you can do so safely and then turn off the stove. Remember, never pour water on a grease fire! That will create a worse hazard with instant explosive fireballs shooting into your kitchen. Keeping a 5-pound fire extinguisher in the home is a much better idea and another great gift.
THROW A PARTY THE SMART WAY
While there’s a variety of ways of entertaining, if your get-together this season includes hot toddies, a few glasses of wine or a powerful punch, please be especially careful – especially if your guests include smokers. Make sure you provide deep, large ashtrays and dispose of ashes into an empty metal container with a bit of water in it.
In addition, with more people, furniture gets moved around to accommodate the crowd plus Christmas wrappings and boxes and the big tree, make sure you still have easy access to multiple exits in case of fire. After a party, make sure all the lit candles are out, the lights are off on the tree, and all the cigarette butts have been put out cold.
DON’T BURN WRAPPING PAPER
After Christmas trees and candles, people burning wrapping paper in fireplaces and woodstoves is third on the list of holiday fire starters in homes.
It is tempting, but don’t give in to getting rid of used wrapping paper in your fireplace or woodstove! The problem with burning wrapping paper is that it overheats fireplaces and woodstoves beyond what they’re designed to take. The secondary result of this could be an overheated chimney flue that may spread fire to the entire structure. Instead, recycle what you can and throw the rest away! Yes, your garbage can might be packed, but you could save a home or even a life!
TAKING YOUR TREE DOWN
When it’s time to take down your real tree and dispose of it, never put branches or needles in a fireplace or wood-burning stove. Again, they were not designed for a fast-burning Christmas tree.
The best way to dispose of your tree is by taking it to a recycling center or having it hauled away by a community pick-up service.
DUCTLESS HEAT PUMPS
Maybe some of you have seen on Facebook that we here at NeighborWorks of Grays Harbor can help income-qualified people receive a free installed heat pump. It’s true! You can look on our website (www.nwghc.org) for more information. Or, just leave us a message at (360) 533-7828. We will be having a few days off during the holidays, so make sure to leave your name and phone number and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can!
Merry Christmas from all of us at NeighborWorks and wishes for a safe and fun holiday celebrations!