The American Red Cross urges residents to take extra precautions with cooking and decorating around the holidays as they are leading causes of home fires.
Christmas Day, Christmas Eve and Thanksgiving are the top three days for cooking fires, according to the National Fire Prevention Association. In the winter, additional fires are caused as people are entertaining, running space heaters, building fires and stringing holiday lights. “We’re urging everyone to take extra safety measures to ensure their homes and loved ones are safe,” said Steve Hansen, Chief Operating Officer. Nationally, the Red Cross responds to a disaster on average every eight minutes, and the vast majority of them are home fires.
“Within our 28-county region, we have responded to more than 30 fires just since Thanksgiving!” he concluded.
The Red Cross has some simple steps everyone can follow to prevent home fires around the holidays:
- Test your smoke alarms.
- Check food regularly while cooking and remain in the home while cooking. Use a timer as a reminder that the stove or oven is on.
- Enforce a “kid-free zone” in the cooking area and make children stay at least three feet away from the stove.
- Keep anything that can catch fire away from the stove, oven or any appliance in the kitchen that generates heat.
- Clean cooking surfaces on a regular basis to prevent grease buildup.
- Purchase a fire extinguisher to keep in the kitchen. Contact the local fire department to receive training on the proper use of extinguishers.
- Choose decorations that are flame resistant or flame retardant.
- Keep children, pets and decorations away from lit candles.
- Keep matches and lighters up high in a locked cabinet.
- Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. Connect no more than three strands of mini light sets and a maximum of 50 bulbs for screw-in bulbs. Read manufacturer’s instructions for the number of LED strands to connect. Some strings of lights are only for indoor or outdoor use, but not both.
- Use clips, not nails, to hang lights so the cords do not get damaged.
- Keep decorations away from windows and doors.
People can test their knowledge on how to prevent home fires by taking the Fire Safety Quiz, and can learn more about fire prevention by visiting redcross.org.
Filed under: Preparedness |