Holiday Fire Safety Warnings: Fact or Fiction?

Holiday Fire Safety Warnings: Fact or Fiction?

The enchantment of the holidays can sometimes make you forget about the possible safety dangers lurking around. The Orlando insurance attorneys at the Law Offices of Michael B. Brehne, P.A. would like to shed light on some common myths heard during the holiday season regarding fire safety and how you and your family can stay safe by playing it smart.

Avoid Common Holiday Hazards & Mistakes

The Christmas Tree

Christmas trees have undeservedly obtained a bad rep of being one of the highest fire hazards during the holiday season. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), only 0.12 percent of all residential fires are caused by live or artificial Christmas trees. This isn’t to say, however, that a neglected Christmas tree isn’t dangerous. A tree that has been allowed to become overly dry can be highly combustible and cause serious damage. The NFPA states that on average 1 of every 34 home fires regarding a Christmas tree resulted in death, compared to 1 death per 142 home fires.

Here are some guidelines to follow to make sure that your Christmas tree remains intact and your family safe this season:

  • Examine the tree before you purchase. The needles should be green, sturdy and flexible when handled.
  • Water your tree daily to prevent it from drying out.
  • If purchasing an artificial tree, check that it is “fire resistant” and bears a label from an independent testing laboratory such as Underwriters Laboratories, Canadian Standards Association or Intertek.
  • Keep your tree at least 3 feet away from open flames and other heat sources.

Lustrous Lights

There is something magical about seeing your home lit up by hundreds of tiny lights. However, these dazzling lights and other electrical decorations can be a hazard if precaution isn’t taken. Holiday lights alone don’t increase the chances of holiday fires, nowadays lights come standard with safety fuses. However, outdated or damaged lights could be more prone to sparks and overload.

Follow these tips to avoid electrical accidents:

  • Replace outdated lights that do not feature safety fuses.
  • Check for exposed wires and broken bulbs before plugging in lights.
  • Only place lights and electrical decorations outside that are rated for outdoor usage.
  • Avoid overloading extension cords and sockets.
  • Turn off and unplug lights and decorations when going to sleep or leaving the house.

Holiday Cooking

According to the NFPA, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve are the leading dates for cooking fires. It is easy to get distracted when so much is happening around you, but it is important to stay alert and focused when cooking. Also, the National Safety Council (NSC) and NFPA both discourage the use of turkey fryers, which have been responsible for 672 injuries and $8 million in property damage since 2002.

Here are some tips to be safe with turkey fryers and other cooking equipment:

  • Set up the fryer on flat ground outside and at least 10 feet from the house.
  • Don’t overfill the oil in the fryer.
  • Use a fully thawed and dry turkey; any water will cause the oil to bubble up and spill.
  • Check that appliances are working correctly by examining wires, gas hookups, and safety switches.
  • Never pour water on an oil fire.
  • Keep a close eye on the kitchen and never leave stove-top cooking or fryers unattended.

Open Flames, Menorahs & Chimneys

An open flame is beautiful, but it can become rather dangerous if neglected. The NFPA reports that 38 percent of home decoration fires were started by candles. Lighting a flame, whether it’s the menorah, a simple candle or a chimney, is not dangerous by itself or discouraged, but precautionary measures should still be taken.

  • Make sure candles are on stable, flat surfaces.
  • Never leave open flames unattended or lit while you sleep.
  • Keep open flames away from trees, curtains and other flammable objects.

Orlando Insurance Attorneys can Help with Your Claim

Fire safety burns brightest during the holiday season, and our Orlando law firm wants to ensure that you and your family remain safe this season. Fire loss claims are heavily investigated by insurance companies, and it can take time before the company decides to reimburse you for your losses and even then full reimbursement isn’t guaranteed. Contact our experienced insurance lawyers in Orlando, FL to help you settle insurance disputes and prevent insurance companies from denying your claim.

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