The holidays bring heightened risk for accidental fires. December and January are the leading months for residential fires. We know winter can be a hectic and stressful time, so our tips are easy and simple to follow. We want you and your family to stay safe and have a stress-free winter season.
- Holiday Decorations. More than 20% of people will not turn off holiday electrical decorations and lights before leaving the house or going to sleep at night. Holiday lights and tress are the most common culprits to initially catch fire. Inspect all holiday lights thoroughly to ensure they are working properly. Make sure to set your tree up at least three feet away from any heat sources. Even though holiday lights are meant to be cheery and bright, if safety is neglected, they can prove to be a not-so-festive fire hazard.
- Overloaded Outlets. Overloaded electrical circuits are a major cause of residential fires. These outlets will carry too much electricity and that will generate a significant amount of heat. The heat will cause wear and tear which can eventually lead to a fire. To prevent this, plug all appliance directly into the wall receptacle outlet. Replace worn and old extension cords to avoid accidental overheating. Remember, only plug in one heat producing appliance into an outlet at a time.
- Space Heater. Space Heaters are responsible for 79% of deadly home fires. During the winter months, structure fires caused by heating appliances increase from 17% to 27% causing 47,700 home fires each year. Don’t leave space heaters on for an extended period and never leave them unattended. Never us in wet spaces such as bathrooms or kitchens. Keep all materials at least 3 feet away from your space heater.
- Dryers. The leading cause of dryer-related fires is the failure to clean dryer vents regularly. The lint builds up in the dryer is highly flammable and can clog the venting system. Improper dryer installation can also quickly lead to an electrical fire. Always clean your dryer lint filter after every load of laundry and inspect the vents every few months for lint build up.
- Electrical Blankets. Electrical Blankets can malfunction due to wear and tear, manufacturing issues, and improper usage, all contributing to the danger of combustion. Many electrical blanket related fires are caused by units that are ten years or older. Regularly check and throw out old or worn electrical blankets/heating pads. Unplug whenever it’s not being used.
Follow these safety tips to avoid electrical fires this winter and have a safe holiday season. Talk to your local Rural Mutual agent for more safety tips and make sure your home is properly protected.