How To Prevent Holiday Fire Damage

Every holiday season seems to be an exercise in stress for most (even though that time with your family is worth every bit of it). Between getting (and hiding) the gifts, making sure there are accommodations for your out of town guests, and the holiday cooking, there might be some issues in your home that need constant attention. This attention might take your eyes off of fire safety in your home—an easier thing to overlook than you might think. We don’t want to add to your stress—that’s not the point here—but if you follow these quick tips and remember this information, you should be able to prevent fires (and therefore fire damage) in your home.

Be Vigilant

During the holidays, we often bring in a bunch of new things into our home, either to decorate it with festive holiday cheer or to feed the hungry mouths that we call our families. Unfortunately, all of those new things may cause a fire (or worse, be fuel for one). That’s why caution is required while you’re decorating, cooking, and hosting your family. If you don’t, one or more of those things might cause your home to go up in flames.

The Christmas Tree

This one’s an old favorite. The Christmas tree is the icon for the holiday. Small children, upon seeing a pine tree or some other evergreen tree, sometimes call it a Christmas tree by mistake. However, whether you have a live tree or an artificial one, it’s a major fire hazard.

If you have a live tree, we have a few tips for you. As soon as you get the tree home, take about an inch off of the trunk. This opens the trunk up and allows the tree to take on water, which makes it sturdier. Cutting a checkerboard pattern into the remaining trunk will also help it absorb water. Whether the tree is dried out or not, there is one major tip that must be said: do not place the tree near the fireplace. The heat will help to dry out the tree, which can lead to it igniting. It’s a faux pas you don’t want to commit.

We have a few tips for artificial trees as well. The same advice goes for an artificial tree in regards to the fireplace: it does not belong next to it. Also, if the tree is metallic, be absolutely certain that there are no bare spots in the insulation of the lights. If there is, that could electrify the whole tree—it’s not only a fire risk if the electricity arcs but a danger to your children, as well. On the same note, do not overload your outlets. You might want to chain together 20 plug splitters, but it’s a fire hazard if it shorts out. Don’t do it.

The Other Decorations

It’s not just the tree that can cause major damage to your home, either. If you’ve hung garland around your fireplace, that might not be a great idea. Make sure that what you’re using is fire resistant at least (or don’t hang garland around a working fireplace). The same goes for stockings. Just be safe: if it looks like it could light on fire, don’t tempt fate. Hang it somewhere that it won’t catch on fire.

Cooking

Another great way to have your house burn down is through cooking. Take care that your smoke detectors have their batteries in them, and make sure you’re supervising your cooking so that nothing will catch fire while it’s going on. Perhaps your uncle likes his turkey a little overdone, but nobody wants it (or you) burnt. It’s not a wise choice.

The main point of holiday safety is this: be on the lookout for possible hazards. There are many that we haven’t mentioned here (cigarette burns from your guests, the strands of lights around your home, candles, wrapping paper, and so forth), but if you stay alert, you’ll catch these things. Be safe this holiday season, and eat lots of cranberry sauce for us!