According to the National Fire Prevention Association, about half of home Christmas tree fires happen due to electrical or lighting equipment issues. Numerous home fires also originate with holiday decorations and cooking. Here are some more insights and a look at how electrical safety can avoid a holiday fire in your home.
6 Holiday Fire Prevention Tips
1. Do Not Overload Outlets
Plugging too many lights or devices into one outlet can cause an overload. By letting more current flow through wires and components than they’re rated for, overheating, electrical arcs, and ultimately fires can occur.
- Plug only one high-wattage appliance into any one outlet.
- Install GFCI outlets near sinks and other water sources.
- When connecting light strings, note the wattage and don’t exceed more than the circuit can handle.
- Never link extension cords together.
- Never run power cords or extension cables under fabric, carpet, or furniture.
2. Test All Lights and Cords
Make sure all indoor decorations work properly. Test all lights and cords before hanging them. If any wires are frayed, throw them away, and replace any lights that don’t work. And, only use clips for hanging indoor lights. Nails or staples can easily damage electrical cords and create a fire hazard.
3. Keep Trees and Plants Away from Heat Sources
Any tree or plant should be kept at least three feet away from heat sources; and never use real candles on a tree. Decorative lights should always be turned off before you go to sleep or leave your home. If you have a live Christmas tree, water it every day.
4. Exercise Care When Setting Up Outdoor Light Displays
Only use outdoor-rated decorations and cords/cables. All electrical elements must be kept away from standing water, snow, or ice. When setting up a display, don’t run cords through doors and windows, as this can damage the insulation, and use a wood or fiberglass ladder (metal conducts electricity).
5. Be Cautious When Working in the Kitchen
Electrical and other fires can occur in the kitchen. To prevent a holiday fire, follow these tips when working in the kitchen so your gathering doesn’t turn into a disaster:
- Unplug appliances when not using them.
- Don’t leave food unattended while cooking.
- Never put a metal object into the microwave oven.
- Keep towels, potholders, and other combustible items away from the stove top.
- Make sure lighters and matches are kept in a safe place, out of reach of children.
- Have a fire extinguisher, know where it is, and understand how to use it.
6. Practice Fire Safety Around Fireplaces and Fire Pits
This includes fireplaces and outdoor fire pits. A fire pit should be at least 10 feet away from your home or any structures on your property. It should not be used in windy conditions. When used safely, a fire pit can make for great times with family in cold weather.
Also, make sure your fireplace is in working condition before using it. Use only dry firewood for a wood-burning fireplace, and never hang stockings or other decorations in front of it. Schedule a chimney inspection if you haven’t used your fireplace in some time (if it’s an electric fireplace, make sure all electrical elements and connections are safe to use).
Contact CMC Service Experts
Electrical safety is the key to preventing a holiday fire in your home. Serving Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Clayton, and other nearby communities, CMC Service Experts can provide emergency repairs and professional electrical inspections. Continue browsing to learn more about our specialties, Home Protection Plan, and 24/7 and same-day service or call 919-804-1645 now to request a visit.