Common Causes of Fires During the Holidays - Dartmouth 02747
Nothing quite says holidays in New England like streets decorated with bright Christmas lights, dustings of snows, and homes oozing with warmth and welcome. Even tough New Englanders soften up during the last couple of months of the year.
As much as the holidays come with anticipation, excitement, and warm feelings — it also comes with a high risk of fire. Here are some common causes of fire during the holidays:
- Electrical shock: make sure you’re using the right light bulbs and not overloading any extension cords. As a rule thumb, only plug three strands of lights into one extension cord. It’s also important to not run any extension cords under rugs as this has caused many electrical fires.
- Candle fires: When lighting a candle, make sure you do not place the candle near any flammable material such as bedding, curtains, furniture, decorations, etc. Place candles on a steady surface away from children and pets.
- Open fireplaces: While it’s great to light the fire during Christmastime a la “Chestnuts Roasting on An Open Fire” style… it’s important to take certain precautions so that chestnuts remain the only thing roasting on the open fire. Precautions such as making sure that your damper is open. Also, use a gate or a screen to keep any wild sparks from flying, and always have a fire extinguisher nearby in case of an emergency. We also recommend getting your chimney inspected and cleaned to make sure everything is in working order.
- Space heaters: Keep an eye on space heaters if you have one in your home, much like candles, keep them away from flammable materials as mentioned above.
- Cooking fires: Deep frying a turkey may seem like a good idea, but it’s also dangerous if you don’t take the necessary precautions (i.e. making sure it’s completely dry!). Most cooking fires occur during Thanksgiving when company is over and guests are being entertained. It’s easy to forget about the oven mitts you left by the stove or the timer that went off but you couldn’t hear it from all the hollering and shouting over the football game. Make sure the cook stays in the kitchen or at least have someone keep an eye on the food while it’s cooking. Never leave the stove unattended.
- Christmas tree fires: Usually caused by electrical fires, Christmas tree fires are often caused by the lights and decoration on the tree or if the tree is too close to a heat source (heaters, candles, fireplaces, etc.). To prevent this, keep your tree at a safe distance from heat sources. If you have a real tree, make sure to cut the base of the tree before you mount it so it can absorb water and not dry out. Always use flame-resistant trimmings and turn the lights off before you leave the house, or go to bed.
Holidays are truly the most wonderful time of the year, but they’re also the time of year where residential fires are most common. Keep these tips in mind to avoid having to call 9-1-1 during your holiday celebration.
And if you happen to have to call emergency services, know that SERVPRO of Dartmouth / New Bedford is always here to help as well. Our technicians are always available 24/7/365 (366 on leap years) to respond to your call. Just because you experienced a disaster, doesn’t mean the holidays have to be a total loss! We’re here to make it, “Like it never even happened.”