Holiday Fire Safety

Posted on : Tuesday, December 13, 2016


Holiday Fire Safety: Getting Back to Basics

By Jan Schnabel, Director of Risk Management Services, HUB Hospitality

Do you hear what I hear? Let’s hope it’s not the fire alarm! Christmas time may be the most festive and decorative holiday, but with it comes the greatest fire danger as well.

Each year, fires occurring during the holiday season injure 2,600 individuals and cause over $930 million in damage. So sadly, according to the NFPA, Christmas tree-related fires also have a higher incident of fatalities than typical house fires.

Christmas trees and Christmas lights are the two most common aspects of holiday decorating, but not surprisingly, they are also the two most common sources of fire, and therefore must be a safety priority. While working to make the property festive, make it safe as well by following these basic fire safety tips:

Christmas Trees

•Make sure to purchase green, moist trees, never old or brittle. Check theneedles. Try to find a tree with needles that bend instead of break.

•After purchasing a live tree, be sure to cut the bottom of the tree to exposenew wood that will be able to soak up water.

•Always keep live trees watered.

•Keep trees (and any other combustibles) away from ignition sources such asfireplaces, space heaters, candles, and overhead lights.

•Ensure that artificial trees are fire resistant and UL (Underwriters Laboratory)or FM (Factory Mutual) listed. This will ensure the tree has beenmanufactured and tested to meet specific safety standards.

•Make sure the base is steady so the tree won’t tip over easily.

Christmas Lights and Extension Cords

•Only use UL or FM approved extension cords.

•Make sure the extension cord is large enough to carry the intended load.(The thicker the cord, the greater the load it should be able to carry withoutoverheating.)

•Inspect the cord for damaged insulation, splices, or loose plugs before using.Never use an extension cord that has any of these conditions.

•Do not overload outlets! Use surge protectors if multiple outlets are needed.

•Immediately replace any broken bulbs that have exposed filaments.

•Never use electric lights on old metal artificial trees.

•Don’t run cords through doorways or under rugs. The insulation on the cords can become damaged if the door closes on the cord, or if people stepon it under the rug, causing a potential fire and/or shock hazard.

•Match plugs with outlets. Don’t force a 3-pronged plug into a 2-prongedoutlet or extension cord.