Five ways to keep your holidays — and home — from going up in smoke
Everyone wants to have a great and a safe holiday season free of any mishaps or accidents.
Here are a few ideas for preventing the possibility of fire and burns during the season.
Fireplaces and chimneys
If you have a wood-burning fireplace and haven’t had it cleaned in a long while, there may still be time to hire a chimneysweeper to remove the creosote inside the hearth and chimney.
Even with gas-burning fireplaces, make sure that the cap on top of the chimney is secure.
Always open the damper when you light your fire and don’t burn gift wrappings or Christmas tree branches in any fireplace.
Cooking and the kitchen
Don’t leave the kitchen when frying, broiling or grilling. It’s easy to get distracted during the holiday season, so set a timer as a reminder that your oven is on or when something is simmering on the range.
Keep burning candles within your line of sight. Put them out when leaving a room or before going to sleep.
Keep candles out of the reach of pets or small children. Trim the wicks on candles to a quarter inch in length each time before burning, according to the National Candle Association.
Always place candles on a stable, heat-resistant surface and make sure the candle is not on a shelf, in a bookcase or under a cabinet. Don’t burn a candle all the way down.
Smoke alarms and extinguishers
Make sure your smoke alarms are functional and replace the batteries now if you haven’t done so in a long time. They need replacing once a year, and doing that regularly on New Year’s Eve will make that job easier to remember.
Many homeowners have fire extinguishers in their kitchens, but don’t know how to use them. Check the instructions:
- Stand about six feet from the fire and pull the extinguisher safety pin
- Aim the chemical low at the base of the fire
- Keep the extinguisher upright and squeeze the trigger slowly
- Sweep the flames until the extinguisher runs dry – about 10 to 20 seconds.
If you’re still planning to get a fresh-cut tree this year, be sure to cut off the bottom two inches from the base of the trunk before putting it in a stand.
Always keep the tree at least three feet from any heat source, like a fireplace, heat vent or candles.
Water your tree daily.
Replace lights on your tree that have worn cords or loose bulb connections. Turn off tree lights at bedtime or before leaving the house.
When the needles on your tree get dry and crispy, it’s time for the tree to go.
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