The upcoming holidays and cooler weather typically mean cozy fires in the hearth and elaborate dinners. It’s important to keep safety in mind, though, as you celebrate the season. Below are some common causes of house fires and how you can prevent them.
Cooking — The biggest cause of home fires and home injuries is cooking — more specifically, leaving items unattended. Avoid kitchen flames by keeping a close eye on food you’re cooking and ensuring items like oven mitts and food packaging are clear of burners. Always have the right type of extinguisher on hand and check it regularly to guarantee it’s functioning properly.
Chimneys and Fireplaces — It may sound strange, but a fireplace can be a dangerous place for a fire when the chimney isn’t properly maintained. Have your chimney and hearth regularly inspected and cleaned to remove any creosote buildup, a highly combustible byproduct of burning wood and the primary cause of chimney infernos.
Appliances — Remember to clean out your dryer’s lint filter and outside air vent frequently. Too much lint and heat can cause a fire. Also, space heaters left on and forgotten about can be particularly hazardous.
Holiday Decor — A dry Christmas tree or seasonal decorations and unattended candles are a dangerous combination. If you have a tree, ensure it always has water, and keep festive decor away from fireplaces and candles, especially if you have young children or pets.
Set up a fire escape plan and make sure everyone in your house knows what to do and where to go. Test your smoke alarms every month and replace batteries as needed. If you happen to be involved in a fire that can’t be quickly and easily extinguished, get out and then call for help.