Take Precautions To Reduce The Risk of Fire This Holiday Season
Nobody doubts the wonder and amazement of the holiday season. The festive nature of getting a tree and decorating your house in the yuletide spirit buoys even the most Grinch-like adults. For many, the spirit takes on a child-like quality. Unfortunately, that same spirit causes people to forget to take precautions against accidents that can ruin even the most festive occasion.
“Two of every three home fires started by Christmas trees and decorations are the result of electrical problems or a tree being put up too close to a heat source,” says Jimmy Maass, safety coordinator at Farm Bureau Insurance. “There are a handful of basic safety measures home owners can take to significantly help reduce the risk of a fire during the festive holiday season.”
Maass’ tips begin with the simple step of making sure your tree is properly watered. Dehydrated trees with brown needles and dry limbs are a tremendous fire hazard. Home owners should check the water level in their tree stand every evening and refill it. Other basic tips:
1. Don’t place your tree too close to a heat source. In addition to sparks from a fireplace that may easily ignite a tree, the pure heat will dry out the tree. Make sure a tree is at least three feet from a heat source.
2. Inspect your holiday lights thoroughly before putting them on the tree or around the house. Check for bare spots, frayed wires, and any extended wear that may cause a short or start a fire.
3. Don’t overload a wall socket and never plug more than three strands of lights into any socket. Use extension cords wherever possible to cut down on load.
4. Don’t leave lights unattended, and unplug them every night before bed. Unplug extension cords when not in use.
5. Roll up excess electrical cords and keep them away from high traffic areas.
6. If you have children in your home, use safety caps on all electrical receptacles.
7. If you are using an artificial tree, make sure it is nonflammable or fire-retardant.
8. Avoid using candles and never use them near a tree. Never leave the house with a burning candle.
9. Never use indoor lighting for outdoor decorations. Check for red or green UL marks on all light strings and extension cords. The green holographic UL Mark means the light strings should be used only indoors. The red holographic UL Mark indicates the light strings can be used both inside and out.
10. If you decorate outside the home, make sure you place a ladder on even, level ground and make sure all locks are engaged. Don’t place the ladder anywhere near power lines.
11. Always wear slip-resistant shoes when climbing a ladder.
Finally, says Maass, “you should always make sure your house is completely outfit with fire alarms and extinguishers, and make sure everyone know how to use them. You should also create an escape plan for your family, and review and practice it in case the worst occurs"
About Virginia Farm Bureau Insurance
Virginia Farm Bureau Insurance is committed to providing products that best meet the insurance needs of Virginia’s families and small businesses. An organization with more than 148,000 members, served by more than 100 county offices throughout the Commonwealth, Farm Bureau Insurance also offers a wide range of financial planning products and services. Visit Virginia Farm Bureau at FarmBureauAdvantage.com.
- Contact Information
- Jimmy Maass
- Safety Coordinator
- Virginia Farm Bureau Insurance
- Contact via E-mail
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