When most people think about the holiday season, Hawaii probably isn’t the first place that comes to mind. There are no blankets of snow, no winter chills (for the most part), and few homes with a fireplace to roast chestnuts. But we’re no different than anywhere else when it comes to celebrating the holidays with lights, decorations, food, and family.
Unfortunately, we’re also no different when it comes to holiday fire hazards in the home. It’s one of the most dangerous times of the year for household fires. In fact, fires are more frequent, more costly, and more deadly during the holidays than at any other time of the year according to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA). Property loss during a holiday fire is 34 percent greater than in an average fire, and the number of fatalities per thousand fires is almost 70 percent higher during the holidays.
Don’t let your holiday festivities become a tragic statistic. Below are seven fire safety tips to keep your holidays safe and joyous:
- Keep an eye on the cooking. It’s the leading cause of holiday fires in the home according to the USFA, with unattended cooking being the most common culprit. Use safety precautions when cooking, and don’t get distracted. Keep a fire extinguisher handy and make sure smoke detectors are working. If you’re deep-frying your holiday turkey, do it outside on a level surface at least 10 feet from the house.
- Use caution with candles. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), candle fires are four times more frequent during December than during other months. Maintain adequate space between candles and anything flammable, and never leave flames unattended. Consider safer flameless LED candles.
- Be smart with Christmas trees. Christmas trees are usually the first thing to ignite in most home structure fires during the holidays, and a dry tree can engulf a room in flames in seconds. If you’re using a real tree, get a fresh one with intact needles, keep it away from heat sources, and water it every day.
- Be safe with lighting. Inspect your decorative lights each season and throw away any with frayed or cracked wires or broken sockets. Never run more than three strings of lights together, and make sure all extension cords are in good condition and UL-rated for indoor or outdoor use.
- Keep children safe. Every holiday season, the number of fires and tragic deaths caused by children playing with fire increases. Keep candles, matches, and lighters out of reach from children, and educate your kids about fire safety.
- Be prepared for the unthinkable. Make sure you have an emergency exit plan in case of a fire, keep all smoke detectors and fire extinguishers in working order, and be smart with open flames and decorative lighting. To find out more, check out these holiday fire safety tips from the NFPA.
- Carry adequate homeowners insurance. If the unthinkable happens, the last thing you need after losing everything to a fire is to find out you’re not fully covered. Review your coverage regularly to avoid any costly surprises.
Don’t let a tragic accident spoil your holiday season. Review your homeowners insurance coverage with your independent insurance agent, and celebrate safely this year.