Fire Safety may not be the first thing that pops into your mind when you think of the holidays, but it is something you should consider. Home fires are all too common during the holiday season because of the burden of extra electrical lights, fires in the fireplace, the abundant use of candles and other household hazards.
At Tashman Home Center we want you and your loved ones to enjoy a wonderful and safe holiday season. So, as you dust off the decorations and search your drawers for those “stockings to hang by the chimney with care,” here are nine fire safety tips that you can use to help make your home safe during the holidays.
1. Get Your Chimney Professionally Cleaned
Depending on how much you used your fireplace last winter, the inside of it could be coated in a byproduct called creosote. Creosote is smelly, tar-like and extremely flammable. Needless to say, it’s a fire hazard and burning a fire in an uncleaned fire place could lead to disaster. Before your family comes over for your next holiday celebration, contact a fireplace chimney repair company and have your chimney inspected, cleaned and repaired if necessary.
2. Install GFCI Outlets for Exterior Decorations
GFCI stands for Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter. GFCI outlets can sense when there’s a shift in the balance between the current going out of an outlet and the current coming back into the outlet. When the balance shifts, the GFCI outlet shuts down, preventing electrical shock and electrocution. If you’re comfortable working with electricity, you may be able to install the GFCI outlets yourself.
3. Use Electric Candles
Yes, wax candles are romantic, but electric candles are safe. Replace your old wax candles with electric candles, and you’ll never have to worry about knocking one over and burning down your home. Even better, electric candles won’t melt in the hot southern California weather once you put them into storage.
4. Keep Your Christmas Tree Away from Heat Sources
Keep your Christmas tree away from heat sources like space heaters, heat registers, chimneys, candles and radiators. It’s also important to keep your tree hydrated, because the drier your tree gets, the more of a fire hazard it becomes.
If you’re using an artificial tree, look for a tree that has Inherently Fire Retardant Foliage, to help ensure that it won’t go up in flames.
5. Limit the Number of Lights on Extension Cords
To demonstrate this hazard, we’ve turned to a classic holiday movie. Remember this classic scene?
It may be funny on National Lampoons Christmas Vacation, but it’s less funny in real life. Stringing together 250 strands of twinkle lights is a fire hazard. Try to limit the number of strands per extension cord to 3. That’s right…just 3.
6. Replace Batteries In Smoke Detectors
Make it your habit to replace all the batteries in your smoke detectors just before the holidays. This will help protect your home and family in the event of a fire.
7. Use a Loud Timer When Baking
When baking things in the oven, set an alarm that can be heard throughout your home, so you’ll never miss the sound. Or, set an alarm on your phone and carry it with you.
8. Watch For Signs of Electrical Overload
If you’ve ever seen A Christmas Story, you’ll remember the leg lamp. If you watch the scene below, you’ll see a great example of electrical overload at around the 2 minutes and 30 seconds mark.
If the outlet covers or the plugs feel hot to the touch when you’re using them, this could be a sign of an electrical issue.
You can avoid problems by plugging in your holiday lights on different outlets around the house. This helps spread the draw of electrical current over multiple circuits. To make this easier, pick up additional extension cords that will allow you to plug in your decorations in different outlets.
9. Keep Pets Away from Cords
Here’s another great holiday scene of a fire hazard:
Keep your pets (especially your cats) away from electrical cords. To hide your cords from your pets, consider using a child proof cord cover or electrical cord shortener.
Tashman Home Center
You can find many of the items that will help fire proof your home at Tashman Home Center in West Hollywood. Our Hardware store has over 20,000 items in stock. And, if we don’t have what what you’re looking for, we’ll be happy to order it and have it shipped to the store for you to pick up.
In addition, we are proud to have a staff of knowledgeable employees dedicated to providing you with the best possible service and advice.