Holiday Fire Prevention with Susan McKelvey

Festive decorations, flickering lights, candles and Christmas trees are hallmarks of the holiday season, but they also present fire risks that can quickly turn this joyous time of year into a devastating one.

The National Fire Protection Association(NFPA) is working to educate the public about potential fire risks during the holidays and offering tips to help everyone safely enjoy the season.

According to NFPA, from 2012-2016, fire departments in the United States responded to an estimated annual average of 170 home structure fires that began with Christmas trees; Christmas tree fires don’t happen often but when they do, they’re more likely to be deadly.U.S. fire departments also responded to an estimated average of 800 home structure fires per year that began with decorations, excluding Christmas trees, during this period. One-fifth of these home decoration fires occurred in December, with more than half (56%) being started by candles. In addition, the top three days for home candle fires were Christmas, New Year’s Day and New Year’s Eve.

Susan McKelvey, communications manager at NFPA, provides statistics and tips to keep families safe this holiday season, including:

Tree Safety
● Choose a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched.
● Place the tree properly, cutting two inches from the base of the trunk and placing away from heat sources.
● Water daily!
● Choose the right lights to decorate.
● Remove tree after the holidays.

Candle Safety
● Keep candles at least a foot away from anything that can burn.
● Blow out all candles when you leave the room.
● Avoid the use of candles in the bedroom and other areas where people may fall asleep.

Holiday Cooking
● Keep the cooking area free of things that could catch on fire — oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels.
● Remain in the home while cooking/baking.
● Keep children away from the cooking area.
● Be alert! If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol don’t use the stove or stovetop.

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