A house fire is tragic any time of the year, but it’s especially tragic around the holidays. When you and your family should be cozying up around the fireplace or sitting down to a holiday meal, you’re worrying about where you’re going to stay and whether or not your insurance coverage will be enough to rebuild the home and your lives.
Unfortunately, the holidays also bring a higher risk of house fires. The risk increases for a variety of reasons, including furnaces being used for the first time since last winter, cooking meals for large groups of people, cooking while drinking and socializing, Christmas trees and decorative lighting, increased candle use, and fireworks.
Even small fires can move quickly and result in extensive damage to a home. If your family’s home has been damaged in a fire, you may want to seek structure and content insurance claim assistance for help during this stressful time period.
If you’re preparing for the holiday season and want to minimize your risk of a tragic accident, follow these holiday safety tips.
#1 Check Your Furnace
More than 1 in 6 blazes start because of a fault in the heating system, and often, in the days or weeks leading up to the holidays we are turning our home’s heating systems for the first time since last season.. While space heaters area major culprit for heating-related fires, one in ten are still caused by a furnace. Here’s what you can do:
- Don’t use space heaters;
- Clean the air filter regularly; and
- Call a professional for major repairs.
#2 Stay Safe While Cooking
Thanksgiving and Christmas are both holidays that involve a lot of food – and that means a lot of baking, cooking, and time spent in the kitchen. However, cooking is the leading cause of household fires. There are a few safety tips you can consider to avoid turning your holiday feast into a conflagration:
- Keep the cooking area clear of grocery bags and kitchen towels;
- If you spill grease, clean it up right away before it catches a flame;
- Keep fryers away from walls, Christmas trees, or anything flammable;
- Make sure you fully thaw meat like turkey to minimize stove time; and
- Keep kids out of the kitchen or away from the stove.
#3 Be Careful about Christmas Trees
Christmas trees light up a dark season, but they also come with some risks. Dry trees and overburdened electrical systems don’t mix! Remember:
- Unplug the lights before you go to sleep;
- Don’t plug in more than three strands of lights to the same source of electricity; and
- Keep real trees well-watered to prevent drying out the needles.
#4 Fireplace Safety
You should also make sure kids, pets, Christmas trees, gifts, wrapping, and stray articles of clothing are kept well away from the fireplace. Use a grate or fire screen to keep embers from popping out and catching clothing, rugs, or furniture.
New Year’s Eve is winter’s big “firework” holiday and many families set some sparkling fun off in their backyards. Make sure you keep them away from buildings. If you live somewhere with full snow cover, you don’t have to worry as much about stray embers lighting up dry grass, but if winter is milder where you live, consider skipping the show when conditions are exceptionally dry. Stay safe over the holidays and be smart about fire prevention.