The holidays are upon us and that means bright, sparkling lights, evenings spend by the fireplace with loved ones and potential fire dangers. Fire insurance claims tend to spike during the holiday season due to human error while cooking, overloaded circuits and candles left unattended. By taking special care this holiday season, you can avoid fire dangers and spend quality time with your family around the tree instead of extinguishing it in the event of an accident. At Bancorp Insurance, we recommend a few common fire safety tips during the holidays.
Holiday Fire Safety Tips
According to the National Fire Prevention Association, 39% of Christmas tree fires start in the living room. Five percent were chimney or flue fires and 21% started in the kitchen. During the month of December, 57% of home decoration fires were started by candles, compared to 32% in January through November. By taking a few precautions, you can prevent a fire in the home from ruining your holiday.
Holiday Decorations, Candles, Lights and Christmas Trees
- Remember to water your Christmas tree every day. Dry trees can easily catch fire, making them a big risk if not properly watered.
- Inspect all of your strands of holiday lights before put them up. Lights with pinched or frayed wires should be thrown away.
- Consider using battery-operated candles instead of real candles. Many of these flame-less candles can smell, look and feel like real candles.
- Extinguish candles before going to bed or exiting a room. Never leave candles burning unattended.
- Place real candles in stable holders and in locations where they cannot be knocked down easily (especially by a pet or child).
- Never overload a circuit, spread light strands across multiple circuits and take into account if a major appliance is also plugged into the same outlet.
- Turn off all lights and decorations before leaving the house or going to bed. Consider installing a timer to automatically turn lights off and on.
Chimneys and Fireplace Safety
- Chimneys should be professionally swept and inspected every year and again halfway through the season for new wood-burning installations, like fireplaces and wood-burning stoves.
- Clean ashes from the fireplace after each fire in order to reduce the amount of flammable material collected in the chimney.
- Never burn painted or pressure-treated wood. Burning wet or poor-quality fuel results in slow fires and more build up in the flue.
Kitchen and Cooking Fire Safety Tips
- Stay in the kitchen while you’re frying, boiling or broiling food. If you’re simmering, baking or roasting food, remain in the kitchen and check it regularly. Use a timer to remind you that you’re cooking.
- Keep over mitts, wooden utensils, food packages, towels and curtains away from your stovetop in order to prevent them from catching fire.
- Keep a lid nearby when you’re cooking to smother grease fires and leave the container completely covered until it has cooled.
- If you plan on deep-frying a turkey, your cooking station needs to be at least 10 feet away from your home and deck. Never leave the fryer unattended. Be cautious when dropping the turkey into the fryer and removing it. Oil that spills from the fryer onto a burner can cause a fire.
Practice Fire Safety This Holiday Season
Before you drop that turkey into the deep-fryer, check your homeowners’ insurance policy so you are aware of your fire coverage. Take preventative action to ensure you have the happiest holiday season without the risk of a fire ruining the quality time you plan on spending with family and friends. Your kids will appreciate a clean fireplace, as Santa needs a clear pathway to bring their favorite toys and gifts.
If you have any questions about fire coverage and your homeowners’ insurance, contact Bancorp Insurance for answers about the “what ifs” around holiday home safety.