A well-decorated, toasty warm home is a joy to share with family and friends over the holidays, but this is the season when there's an increased risk of house fires. On average, 47,000 fires occur over the holidays, which cause 500 fatalities nationwide. Here's how to avoid holiday fire hazards so your home and family stay safe this season:
Have Well-Functioning Smoke Detectors
Fully-functional smoke detectors are critical for safety, so have them installed on every level of your home in strategic locations like inside each bedroom, in the living areas, and in hallways adjacent to sleeping areas. Replace the batteries in all your detectors semi-annually, and once a month, check and test each one to make sure the alarm sounds.
Invest in Fire Extinguishers
If a fire breaks out, having an extinguisher on each floor of your home in an easily-accessed location can allow you to contain it before it spreads. A-B-C-rated models are an ideal choice, since they can extinguish the three most common causes of house fires: electrical sources, combustibles like wood or paper, and flammable liquids or gases.
Use Supplemental Heat Sources Wisely
If you plan to use a space heater, choose an electric model with enclosed heating elements that's equipped with a tilt switch to shut down the unit if it tips over. When it's being used, keep the heater several feet away from combustible items like furniture, draperies and your holiday tree. When using your fireplace, check that the damper is open before lighting it, and have a firescreen in place so sparks don't escape.
Use Caution With Holiday Decorations
You can reduce the likelihood of holiday lighting-related fires by getting rid of any frayed light strings and extension cords, switching to LED lights that emit less heat, and not overloading your home's electrical outlets. Choosing a fire retardant-treated artificial tree instead of a real tree that can get tinder-dry, and unplugging your holiday lights every night can lower your risk of fires too.
For more tips on avoiding holiday fire hazards in your San Diego-area home, contact us at Sherlock Plumbing, Heating & Air.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater San Diego and San Marcos, California area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
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