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Fire Safety this Holiday Season

Updated: Apr 20, 2023

Disclaimer: Informational statements regarding insurance coverage are for general description purposes only. These statements do not amend, modify or supplement any insurance policy. This website does not make any representations that coverage does or does not exist for any particular claim or loss, or type of claim or loss, under any policy. Whether coverage exists or does not exist for any particular claim or loss under any policy depends on the facts and circumstances involved in the claim or loss and all applicable policy wording.

candle on a table

The weather outside is frightful, and while the fire might be delightful, it’s not quite so pleasant when what’s on fire is… your house.

Most of us like to envision our holiday season spent curled up with our loved ones, sipping a cup of cocoa while we unwrap gifts. Nobody likes to think about a house fire during this joyous time of the year.

But as unpleasant as it might be to think about, it’s important to keep fire safety in mind as you head into the holiday season.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, the number of decorative fires caused just by candles in the month of December increases by an average of 12%!

Candles aren’t the only fire hazards to worry about. From dry Christmas trees to unattended ovens, there are plenty of risks to be aware of during the holidays.

You don’t need to be a Scrooge or delay your holiday celebrations. Just take heed of these simple fire safety tips for the month of December, and you’ll be able to enjoy a safe and relaxing season with loved ones.

Fire Safety Tips for December

The holidays are a time for family, friends, and festive cheer. But if you're not careful, they can also be a time for dangerous fires. Follow these simple tips to make sure your holiday season is as safe as it is merry.

1. Be Mindful of Your Christmas Tree

A dry Christmas tree is a major fire hazard. Make sure to keep your tree well-watered, and if it starts to drop needles, it's time to get rid of it. You should also avoid putting your tree too close to a heat source like a fireplace or space heater.

Don’t use candles to decorate your Christmas tree, either, no matter how pretty it might look.

If you think you’re giving your tree enough water, think again. The average tree consumes up to a gallon of water per day. Add water daily and don’t let the water level drop below the cut end of the trunk.

In general, artificial trees pose less of a fire risk than real ones - but there are some things to keep in mind here, too. For example, you should avoid using electrical lights on metallic trees.

2. Be Careful With Candles

Candles are one of the leading causes of house fires during the holidays. If you must use them, make sure to blow them out before you leave the room or go to bed. And never leave children or pets alone in a room with lit candles. Better yet, ditch the candles altogether and opt for LED lights instead. They're just as festive and much safer.

3. Check All Christmas Lights to Avoid Electrical Fires

As anyone who has ever dealt with a string of holiday lights knows, they can be notoriously finicky. One loose wire or socket can render an entire string of lights useless. And while that may be frustrating, it's nothing compared to the danger of electrical fires.

Every year, faulty holiday lights are responsible for a significant number of house fires. So before you deck the halls this holiday season, be sure to check all of your light strings for any signs of damage.

Discard any that are damaged or frayed - or have loose sockets. Christmas lights aren’t that expensive - but a house fire could be quite costly.

4. Don’t Overload Your Outlets

You may have enjoyed laughing at Clark Griswold in the classic National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, but heed his overzealous decorating habits as a warning - not inspiration.

Overloading your outlets with lights and other decorations is a recipe for disaster and can lead to an electrical fire. Keep the outlet’s total load under 15 amps. Make sure you are using the lights based on manufacturers’ instructions, too. In other words, don’t use inside lights outdoors and vice versa.

If you're using extension cords, make sure they're not damaged in any way and that they're not being pinched by furniture or drapes.

5. Inspect Your Fireplace

The holidays are a time for family, friends, and curling up by the fireplace. But before you cozy up to the hearth this season, be sure to get your fireplace cleaned and inspected. A build-up of soot and debris can ignite quickly and cause a dangerous chimney fire.

In addition, unseasoned firewood can produce a lot of smoke, so be sure to use only well-seasoned wood. And finally, always keep a fire extinguisher on hand in case of an emergency.

6. Keep Things Safe in the Kitchen

Whether you're cooking a traditional feast or whipping up a batch of cookies, the kitchen is likely to be the center of activity this season. However, it's also important to be aware of the fire risks that come with cooking.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, most home fires start in the kitchen, with more of these sorts of fires occurring between the months of November and January than the rest of the year.

Of these, the vast majority (about a third) are from leaving cooking equipment unattended.

Never leave your food alone while it's cooking, even just for a few minutes. Make sure your smoke alarms are working and check them regularly.

And of course, keep flammable items like towels and potholders away from the stove.

Give Yourself the Gift of Home Insurance This Holiday Season

This holiday season, give yourself the gift of peace of mind with home insurance. A home is likely the most expensive purchase you will ever make, and it contains all of your most cherished possessions.

Home insurance can help to protect against the cost of repairs or replacement in the event of a fire. A typical home insurance policy will cover damage caused by smoke, sparks, and flames, as well as any ensuing water damage from firefighting efforts.

It is important to remember that home insurance does not just cover the structure of your home - it can also cover personal belongings such as furniture, electronics, and clothing.

So when you are busy decorating your home for the holidays, take a moment to think about how you would protect it in the event of a fire.

Home insurance can be the best way to safeguard your investment and ensure that your holiday season is merry and bright. Northern Insurance Agency's insurance professionals can help you learn more about your options and different coverage choices.

Get in touch today for a quote before your holiday celebrations leave your schedule feeling cramped.

Northern Insuring will simplify the complicated...for insurance. Call us today!


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