Seasonal Fire Safety
There’s no place like home for the holidays and no better place to implement good fire safety practices.
Follow these simple steps to help ensure your holiday is memorable for all the right reasons:
- Make sure your home is protected by an adequate number of smoke alarms. Alarms should be installed on every level of the home, inside each bedroom, and outside each sleeping area.
- Test smoke alarms monthly to ensure they are working properly. Change the batteries at least once a year.
- Carefully inspect each electrical decoration and extension cord before use. Discard any damaged items.
- Avoid overloading electrical outlets, which can overheat and start a fire.
- If you purchase a live Christmas tree, check for freshness. Be sure to keep the stand filled with water.
- Place your tree and all decorations at least three feet away from heat sources.
- Consider using battery-operated candles instead of traditional candles. Never use burning candles on or near your tree.
- Turn off all decorations and extinguish candles before leaving the house or going to sleep.
- Never leave the kitchen when something is cooking.
- Have your heating system cleaned and inspected by a qualified professional at least once a year.
- Keep space heaters at least three feet away from anything that can burn, such as bedding, curtains, clothing, and paper.
- Turn space heaters off when you leave the room or go to sleep.
- Almost two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
- Children under five years old are almost one and a half times more likely to die in a home fire as the average person.
- The peak months for home fires that cause child casualties are December through February.
- Install smoke alarms. Properly working smoke alarms decrease your chances of dying in a fire by half.
- Place smoke alarms on every level of your residence. Place them outside bedrooms on the ceiling or high on the wall (4 to 12 inches from ceiling), at the top of open stairways, or at the bottom of enclosed stairs and near (but not in) the kitchen.
- Test and clean smoke alarms once a month and replace batteries at least once a year. Replace smoke alarms once every 10 years.
What to do During a Fire
If your clothes catch on fire, you should:
- Stop, drop, and roll - until the fire is extinguished. Running only makes the fire burn faster.
To escape a fire, you should:
- Check closed doors for heat before you open them. If you are escaping through a closed door, use the back of your hand to feel the top of the door, the doorknob, and the crack between the door and door frame before you open it. Never use the palm of your hand or fingers to test for heat - burning those areas could impair your ability to escape a fire (i.e., ladders and crawling).
|Hot Door ||Cool Door |
|Do not open. Escape through a window. If you cannot escape, hang a white or light-colored sheet outside the window, alerting fire fighters to your presence.||Open slowly and ensure fire and/or smoke is not blocking your escape route. If your escape route is blocked, shut the door immediately and use an alternate escape route, such as a window. If clear, leave immediately through the door and close it behind you. Be prepared to crawl. Smoke and heat rise. The air is clearer and cooler near the floor.|
- Crawl low under any smoke to your exit - heavy smoke and poisonous gases collect first along the ceiling.
- Close doors behind you as you escape to delay the spread of the fire.
- Stay out once you are safely out. Do not reenter. Call 9-1-1.
For more information on this and other topics go to NFPA's web site http://www.nfpa.org/ or go to http://www.homesafetycouncil.com/ or http://www.fema.gov/