Associations Helping To Fire-Proof the Holidays
The holidays can be a perilous time of year for home fires. Two associations are sponsoring public awareness campaigns to provide tips and help people celebrate the season safely.
One of the unfortunate side effects of all the festivity around the holidays is the incidence of home fires.
Roughly 47,000 house fires occur every year during the winter holiday season, resulting in $554 million in property damage and claiming 530 lives, according to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA). Additionally, candle fires are four times more likely to occur during the holidays, and about 230 home fires start with Christmas trees every season.
The American Chemistry Council’s North American Flame Retardant Alliance is hoping to prevent some of those fires this year with a new month-long campaign, Celebrate Safely, launched in collaboration with Rebuilding Together, a national nonprofit that helps rehabilitate homes of low-income homeowners.
“The holidays are a wonderful time for families to celebrate together. Unfortunately, the combination of flammable decorations, lit candles, and increased cooking activity means that the number of home fires rises during the holiday season,” Charley Shimanski, president and CEO of Rebuilding Together, said in a statement.
The campaign focuses on five tips, including
- decorating safely with decorations carrying a UL or CSA label and placing Christmas trees and other decorations at least three feet from any heat source.
- cooking safely by keeping towels, wooden utensils, and other items that can catch fire away from stoves and ranges.
- observing safely by blowing out candles before you leave a room and keeping Christmas trees hydrated.
- playing safely by keeping lighters and matches away from children.
- entertaining safely by ensuring fire detectors are working properly and guests are aware of fire exits.
The National Fire Protection Association has a host of resources available to the public to help prevent home fires during the holidays. For the fourth year in a row, NFPA is partnering with USFA to promote a national educational campaign, “Put a Freeze on Winter Fires.”
“The colder months and holiday season bring a set of increased fire risks that can quickly turn a festive, wintry time of year into a tragic one,” Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s vice president of outreach and advocacy, said in a statement. “Working closely with USFA, our shared goal is to inform the public about winter fire safety and provide educational resources for the fire service.”