This is one of my favorite times of the year, and for good reason! I am not a fan of the cold weather, but I tend to forget the cold temperatures and my freezing hands and feet when I see all of the beautiful lights and decorations. The "bah humbug" in all of us melts away around the holiday season.
So, to keep your holiday happy, merry and safe, it's important now, more than any other time of year, to use lights, candles and decorations with caution. Here are some tips from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) to reduce the chances of fire in your home:
- Never leave any lights or candles unattended. NFPA reports that a candle fire is reported every 34 minutes, and that home candle fires peak dramatically in December.
- Keep candles in sturdy holders and protect them with glass globes if possible. Also, keep them away from the reach of children and pets.
- When purchasing a Christmas Tree, pick one that's fresh and not shedding needles, or take a trip to a tree farm (such as Frostee Tree Farm right here in Perry Hall) so the branches stay as moist as possible through the season.
- Water your tree daily. It can be a nuisance to get on your hands and knees, but trees drink a lot of water and you will quickly find it dried up if you don't check it daily.
- Keep your tree away from heat and electrical sources, such as outlets and fireplaces and place in a sturdy stand that won't tip over.
- When buying lights, make sure they contain a recognized testing laboratory label, and when purchasing outdoor equipment, all must be waterproof, including the lights, the extension cords, and outlets.
- Use proper equipment, such as power strips, and don't overload on an electrical outlet. When using extension cords, don't run them under carpet, in a doorway, or have them anywhere near a space heater.
- Fireworks are fun, especially on New Year's Eve! Thankfully, it's easy to take in a fireworks show in downtown Baltimore on New Year's Eve (and yes, it's back on) that's performed by professionals. Please don't attempt to set off fireworks yourself.
- If you do light some sparklers, make sure they are disposed of properly, since they can reach temperatures of 1200 degrees F.
- Smoke outside. If you don't smoke, you might have guests at your home who do smoke. When smokers are done, have a deep, sturdy ashtray available and use water or sand to make sure the flame is out completely.
- Make sure you have fresh batteries in your smoke detectors (less than one year old), test them monthly and replace any smoke alarms that are over 10 years old. Also, fight the urge to borrow a battery from a smoke detector!
For more information, please visit www.nfpa.org/firesafeholidays.
Have a happy and safe holiday season!