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Have a fire-proof holiday!

Have a fire-proof holiday!

Have a fire-proof holiday!

Christmas tree, cooking, candles, holiday decorations, a warm fireplace … it all sounds merry and bright and this is exactly how winter holidays should be. While fire damage should be the last thing to worry about, statistics show that it ranks very high on insurance claims over the holidays. And based on people’s testimony, fire damage usually comes with another headache – water damage, from extinguishing the fire.  shutterstock_117676963

Even if you’ve already set up decorations in your apartment, it’s worth going through the following fire-prevention tips and do any necessary upgrades so that the rest of your holiday time goes smoothly. As a rule of thumb, however, keep a fire extinguisher nearby, particularly this season, and teach the rest of the people in your house how to use it:

Christmas tree

  • freshness of the tree (if natural) and flame resistance (if artificial)
  • position: make sure the tree is at least 2 or 3 feet away from any other objects, particularly heaters, fireplaces, candles or stove – your TV as well
  • lights: check that there are bulbs into each socket and that there aren’t any frayed wires

Decorations and candles

  • any electrical cord and replace damaged ones
  • outside outlets should be ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCI)
  • don’t overwhelm electrical outlets
  • fasten all cords and strands tightly to your house or trees
  • indoor lighting cords should not go under carpets or behind drapes
  • try switching to flameless candles
  • recycle anything you cannot use

Cooking

  • the same rule we teach kids to stay away from the stovetop, should be applied when it comes to mitts, wooden utensils, flammable packaging and towels
  • use a timer to remind you you’re cooking
  • get a fire alarm with a pause button so that you don’t have to disable the system or move it too far from the stovetop
  • never open the door in case of an oven or microwave fire
  • use tightly rolled sleeves when cooking
  • don’t leave cooking food unattended

Fireplace

  • have chimney checked annually by a professional
  • keep flammable materials away from the fireplace
  • clean out ashes from the previous fires and store fireplace coals far from any surfaces that may catch fire
  • never burn boxes or packaging in your fireplace
  • remove decorations that are closer than 3 feet from the fireplace