It is that magical time of year again. The snow is falling, the carolers are warming up their voices and all around the country moms and dads are hanging the Christmas lights and trimming the tree. But all of those lights and festive cheer can be dangerous – each year an average of about 300 house fires are started by the ignition of Christmas trees, and late December and early January top the charts in booth cooking-initiated and candle-initiated house fires. Here are our top tips for staying safe and energy efficient during the holiday season…
Christmas Tree Safety (for live trees, garlands and wreaths)
1. Keep your tree well watered and station it at least 3 feet from radiators or other heat sources.
2. Before you hang the lights on your tree check old strands for frayed wires and broken bulbs. If you need to replace strands consider buying LED Christmas lights, the new colors are very close to traditional incandescent bulbs and they emit very little heat, keeping your tree safer from fire and prolonging its life. While it’s a personal taste, I find the lights and colors a bit brighter and more attractive.
General Christmas Safety
1. Never stack or “chain” more strings of lights together than is recommended on the packaging (usually 3 strands maximum).
2. Never leave a candle unattended. Blow candles out when you leave a room, no matter how good they smell.
3. Do not leave cooking food unattended. If you are cooking and you leave the kitchen to socialize with guests for just a moment take a pot holder with you to remind you that you have something on the stove.
4. Equip your house with fire extinguishers and test your smoke detectors. Smoke alarms that are 10 years or older have about a one in three failure rate and should be replaced.
5. Keep matches and lighters hidden from children, even older kids who should know better.
And finally, take the time to kick up your heels with a hot chocolate and enjoy the festivities!