Happy December! Did you enjoy some leftover turkey, do some holiday shopping, or begin to decorate your home for the season over the past week?
It’s an exciting and busy time of the year, but let’s take a few minutes to be sure we are being safe. In the United States, nearly 47,000 fires occur during the winter holidays. Here are some tips from the American Red Cross to help keep you safe.
- Place Christmas trees, candles and other holiday decorations at least three feet away from heat sources like fireplaces, portable heaters, radiators, heat vents and candles.
- Purchase flame retardant metallic or artificial trees. If you purchase a real tree, make sure that it has fresh, green needles that aren’t easily broken. Keep live trees as moist as possible by giving them plenty of water.
- Make sure that light strings and other holiday decorations are in good condition. Do not use anything with frayed electrical cords and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Always unplug tree and holiday lights before leaving home or going to bed.
- Never use lit candles to decorate a tree. Always extinguish candles before leaving the room or going to bed.
- Use only sturdy tree stands designed not to tip over. This ensures safety along with saving you clean-up time following a tree tipping. Keep curious pets and children away from the Christmas tree.
- Keep anything that can catch on fire — pot holders, over mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging and towels or curtains — away from your stove top.
- Designate one person to walk around your home to make sure that all candles and smoking materials are properly extinguished after guests leave. Encourage all family members to be mindful of this should the designated person miss something.
- Remember that smoke alarms save lives. Install a smoke alarm near your kitchen, on each level of your home, near sleeping areas, and both inside and outside bedrooms if you sleep with your door closed. Use the test button to check it each month and replace the batteries at least once a year.
For questions regarding how to keep your home fire safe during the holidays, visit www.redcross.org/homefires.
Enjoy preparing for the holidays and please check your home to be sure you are fire safe. Happy Holidays!
For more information call Stephanie at the Purdue Extension Kosciusko County office at (574) 372-2340, or email at [email protected]