Fire Safety: Staying Safe and Warm Through the Holidays
With winter nipping at our noses, so come the moments that make the season so special. The season makes us delight in watching the snow fall, urges us to dress up trees and make our homes twinkle with lights, and spend time with our loved ones. The chilly temperatures make it all that more delightful, encouraging everyone to “cuddle up.”
But, before you make your escape from the dropping temperatures of winter by turning on the heater or relaxing in front of a roaring fire; there are a number of steps you need to take in order to make sure your home is up to speed when it comes to fire safety.
If you are starting your first fire of the season, make sure you have had your fireplace and chimney properly inspected. When everything is up to code and ready to go, always make sure to keep the following advice in mind:
“When you have your fireplace burning, always use a well-fitting protective fireplace screen to keep all sparks and embers safely inside. Never leave a fire burning if you are not at home or if you go to bed.” (from Home Fire Safety)
Space Heater Fire Safety
The same folks who provided fireplace tips in “ome Ho Home Fire Safety” are quick to point out that fireplaces are not the only concern when it comes to fire safety. Space heaters continue to cause fires in homes all across the country. It is crucial to make sure that your space heater is in proper working order. However, keep in mind that even if it is, there are still potential fire hazards when using it:
“The main cause of space heater fires is placing it too close to combustible materials. Make sure to keep your space heater at least three feet from walls, furniture, drapery or any other material that is combustible.” (from Home Fire Safety)
Electrical Fire Safety
Along with making sure fireplaces, space heaters, and furnaces are in safe working order, be sure to always check for frayed or damaged cords in holiday lights and décor. Prevent electrical accidents by not overloading circuits with too many cords of Christmas lights. Carefully read instructions on the boxes to determine the maximum amperage draw of the light set. A good rule of thumb is not to load a circuit system over 80% of its capability.
Teaching Kids Fire Safety
It is also extremely important to make sure the kids have an understanding of fire safety. This means going over fire evacuation plans, explaining that smoke detectors are not to be tampered with, and much more.
There is a number of fire safety programs designed specifically for children. FEMA created a page that provides links to fire safety topics parents should cover with their children. You can also find links to lesson plans and programs (like the Sesame Street Fire Safety Station) designed to help teachers cover fire safety for young children.
Even if kids are getting general fire safety lessons in school, it’s important to make sure how those lessons apply specifically to your home. Every house and apartment offers its own fire hazards, so make sure they know exactly what to do in case of a fire and as well as what they can do to help prevent one, regardless of the season.
When the blistering heat of summer is gone, and the chilling cold of winter has arrived, it is time to enjoy the beauty of the season. While taking in the changing scenery, brewing up some hot chocolate, and keeping warm, be sure that you are also taking the necessary fire safety steps that will ensure your home and family are safe and well prepared.
Article Written by SimplyLili
Bio: SimplyLili is a PhD student in Social Psychology, and the eccentric author of Essell Magazine; created to disperse knowledge on a plethora of psychological topics in a minimalist and relevant way. She is a self-proclaimed nerd, and her 3 fave things are blogging, rainy days, and pugs.