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Follow Fire Safety Recommendations and Enjoy a Safe Holiday Season

The holiday season is a great time to enjoy family and traditions, but it only takes one spark from a candle or old wiring for that perfect evening to turn into a house fire.

December is one of the leading months for home fires, and this is a good time to remind ourselves of some fire safety tips. The National Fire Protection Association provides the following recommendations to identify and prevent potential fire hazards.

  • Stay in the kitchen when frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you must leave, even for a short time, turn off the stove.
  • Give space heaters space. Keep fixed and portable space heaters at least 3 feet from anything that can burn. Turn off heaters when you leave the room or go to sleep.
  • Ask smokers to smoke outside. Provide sturdy, deep ashtrays for smokers.
  • Keep matches and lighters out of reach of children, preferably in a cabinet with a child lock.
  • Inspect electrical cords and replace cords that are cracked, damaged, have broken plugs, or loose connections.
  • Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day are the most frequent days of the year for home candle fires. Keep candles at least 1 foot from anything that can burn. Blow out candles when you leave the room or go to sleep.
  • Make a home fire escape plan and practice it at least twice a year.
  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. Interconnect smoke alarms throughout the home, so when one sounds, they all sound.
  • Test smoke alarms at least once a month and replace batteries once a year or when the alarm “chirps” to warn the battery is low. Replace any smoke alarm that is more than 10 years old.
  • If building or remodeling your home, install residential fire sprinklers. Sprinklers can contain and may even extinguish a fire in less time than it would take the fire department to arrive.

Home fires are preventable – take steps to protect your family, not just during the holidays but every day.

Scott Harris, M.D.
State Health Officer

(December 2018)

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Page last updated: December 3, 2018