With the holidays just around the corner our homes will become the hub of family celebrations and activities. Add to this, the fact that many of us decorate our homes to make things festive and joyful and you have a recipe for great fun and potential disaster.
Sadly there is a 12% increase in residential fires in December most likely caused by the increased levels of activity in our homes around the holidays. We cook more, entertain more, need more heat and hydro and have more things around our homes that are combustible like Christmas trees covered in tinsel!
Here are some great tips to protect your family, home and peace of mind:
- First and foremost make sure you have working smoke detectors on every level of your home. Test them as you put up your decorations to make sure they are fully operational, especially if they are battery dependent and not wired into the main hydro system.
- Do not overload outlets during the holiday season. If you need more outlets, buy a good power bar not a wobbly outlet splitter.
- Inspect all cords before using. Look for loose connections or frayed or exposed wire especially on tree lights as they spend a whole year coiled up between uses.
- Insert plugs fully into outlets. Poor contact may cause overheating or shock.
- To avoid possible overheating, do not coil or bunch an extension cord or run it under carpets or rugs.
- Never burn gift wrappings, boxes, cartons, or other types of packing. These materials burn far too rapidly and often release harmful gasses.
- Always use a screen in front of the fireplace to protect against flying sparks.
- Use only seasoned and dried wood. Wet wood will pop and splutter and can send sparks out to grab your decorations!
- Never leave the fire unattended or smouldering.
- Clean the ashes regularly. Place the ashes in a metal container and store outside but NOT in your garage near flammable items until you are sure they are completely out.
- When decorating make sure that you leave clear pathways around trees and large ornaments.
- If hanging wreaths over fireplace or stockings on the mantel, make sure they are well attached and cannot fall in.
- If you have a real Christmas tree remember to keep it watered as, once dry, it will burn very quickly.
- In the kitchen many hands may make light work but if your helpers do not know your kitchen well make sure they are working safely.
- Lots of cooking can mean more grease so keep a pot lid ready and some baking soda too. You can smother a grease fire quickly:
1. Turn off the heat source immediately
2. Smother flames with a lid
3. Use baking soda to smother flames that will not fit under a lid
4. Turn off the exhaust fan to prevent the fire spreading.
NEVER throw water on a grease fire as it will dilute the grease and spread the fire!
NEVER throw flour on a fire as it can explode.
Let`s make our Bracebridge homes safe and secure this holiday season by taking a few extra minutes to make sure all is prepared properly.