Christmas And Holiday Fire And Electrical Safety Tips
To help ensure that you and your family have a very safe as well as Merry Christmas, we want to share some very important safety tips that you need to be aware of for the holidays.
Holiday Fire Statistics
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that:
- 38% of house fire deaths and 30% of all house fires occur during December, January, and February.
- Christmas, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are the leading three days for candle fires in the home.
- Lighting equipment or electrical distribution was involved 40% (two out five) Christmas tree home fires.
In 26% of all Christmas trees as well as 80% deaths, there was some sort of heat source, like electrical equipment or a candle, that was too near to the Christmas tree. Every year from 2011-2015 fire departments responded to around 840 home structure fires that started with holiday decorations, excluding Christmas trees. Whether caused by electrical equipment, an open flame, heating or cooking, during this time of the year fires are more severe and more frequent. In particular, Christmas tree fires are very damaging, causing serious injuries and fatalities per fire increasing fivefold.
In addition to fires occurring in the home, decorating injuries and falls also occur frequently during the holiday season. The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) reports:
- An estimated 5,800 people are treated every year in hospital emergency rooms to treat injuries that they sustained from falls that involved holiday decorations.
- Another 4,000 individuals are taken to emergency rooms to be treated for injuries that involve extension cords.
That is why we recommend that you hire a Houston outdoor lighting professional for outdoor light and Christmas displays, along with learning extension cord, ladder, and lighting safety.
Christmas Electrical And Fire Safety Tips
Before hanging your mistle and check the final names off of your Christmas list, make sure you go over the following electrical safety and holiday fire checklist so that all of your family members, guests, and home are kept safe:
- Check your extension cords, electrical decorations, lights, switches and outlets for directions on how to use them properly. Never use any frayed or damaged electrical devices or ones showing exposed wiring. Get rid of any damaged or worn electrical equipment. Look for an electrical device recycling program at your local home improvement stores.
- Whenever you are buying electrical devices, make sure to check to see if the device has been tested by an independent testing laboratory, like Canadian Standards Association (CSA), Intertek (ETL), or Underwriters Laboratory (UL).
- If you notice any outlets or switches smelling strange or that feel warm when you touch them, call an electrician immediately and don’t use them. Shut the power off at the breaker box to that circuit until an experienced electrician has inspected it.
- With incandescent lights, don’t every connect over 3 strings together. Make sure to follow the instructions from the manufacturer at all times, and don’t ever connect more strings of lights together than are stated on the package.
- Don’t attach several extension cords together.
Keep in mind that extension cords are just temporary solutions. So call a licensed electrician if you need to have more outlets.
- Before you go to sleep or leave home, turn your Christmas tree lights as well as other electrical decorations and blow out all of your candles.
- Every 30 days, test your ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) and arc fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs). All outdoor outlets need to be equipped with GFCI protection.
- Make sure you are very careful whenever you are around power lines and learn basic ladder safety. Before climbing, always look up first, and stay 10 feet away at least from power lines. If you have trees around power lines that need to be trimmed, contact your local utility company (upon rest they should be able to come out and trim your tree).
- Avoid overloading your circuits. Make sure your Christmas lights are not tripping the breaker. Make sure you know how to replace blown fuses and reset your breaker safely. If the fuse keeps blowing or the breaker keeps tripping, call a licensed electrician immediately.
- Keep all decorations and items that could potentially burn 3 feet away at least from all heating sources and open flames, like cooking equipment, fireplaces, and space heaters.
- If you have a real Christmas tree, make sure to check the level of water every day and water the tree as needed.
- Never use electricity close to water.
- Don’t sleep with electronic equipment such as cell phones underneath your pillow. Don’t ever leave space heaters, candles or fireplaces on when one is there.
- Never run wires or cords underneath furniture, rugs, carpets, or through doors and windows. Don’t nail or staple cords, lights or any other types of electrical equipment.
- Every 30 days, test your carbon monoxide (CO) and smoke detectors. Install CO and smoke detectors on each level of your house and outside of every sleeping area. Replace the batteries if your alarm starts to make chirping sounds.
Some carbon monoxide is produced by all fuel-burning processes. In large amounts, it can even be fatal. Never grill indoors! It is estimated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) that around emergency room-treated injuries due and 20 deaths due to carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning result from using a charcoal grill.
Don’t ever attempt to do electrical work yourself. An experienced and licensed electrician should always be hired to do electrical work.