Holiday Fire Hazards to Avoid

Holiday Fire Hazards to Avoid Christmas is the season to be jolly — but it’s also time to be extra careful with holiday fire hazards. The National Fire Protection Association has compiled statistics showing an average of more than 200 home fires a year started with Christmas trees, with an average of six deaths a year. But that’s just part of the story: holiday fire hazards can result from other causes as well.

1. Christmas trees.

Fires generally break out during the holidays when a live Christmas tree dries out and is ignited by decorative lights. Keep water levels full in your tree holder. Never place a tree near a heating source. When the holidays are over, dispose of trees properly. Your best bet is to choose an artificial tree, made of fire-resistant materials.

2. Heat sources.

Fires ignited by heating sources — fireplaces, boilers, radiators and space heaters — are another major problem, particularly as we turn up the heat during the holidays. Make sure dampers are open in fireplaces and that you use a fire screen. Space heaters should be located at least 2 feet from flammable objects. Boilers and other combustion-powered heat sources are generally safe, but do have them checked out every year to make sure they are operating properly. You particularly want to avoid boiler explosions, as well as backdrafting and carbon monoxide leaks with furnace heat exchangers.

Always keep smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors in good shape, testing and changing batteries or wiring as needed.

3. Over-packed outlets.

Many tree fires occur from shorts caused by overpacked electric outlets. What’s more, older homes without updated electrical wiring may be more at risk for electrical fires caused by overloading. Be sure the decorative lights do not draw more than 15 amps from the outlet.

4. Candles.

Decorative holiday candles lend a special glow to holiday events, but offer a considerable fire hazard. Keep an eye on candles if you use them. Never put them on a tree.

Consult our experts at C.R. Wolfe Heating and Air Conditioning for more on ensuring your heating system is safe from fire hazards this holiday season.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Middletown, New York about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about home safety and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 845-367-4482. 

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