The holiday season is a time of celebration with family and friends. Many of us host dinner parties and gather together in each other homes to celebrate Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas and the New Year. However, did you know that the winter months are the most common time for house fire deaths?
The Dangers of House Fires
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), approximately 30 percent of all house fires occur in December, January and February. Unfortunately, 38 percent of house fire deaths also occur during this timeframe. The increase in holiday cooking, indoor fires and candle burning puts many families at risk each year. As a result, it is extremely important to practice fireplace safety and check that smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors are working properly.
Before the start of each season, it is essential to have your chimney professionally cleaned. Prior to its first use, make sure that the fireplace has been inspected for debris, chemicals, nests and other obstructions well in advance. Once you have been given the “all clear” to use your fireplace:
- Keep furniture, curtains and other décor away from the fireplace area.
- Avoid sparks from jumping out of the fireplace and igniting carpets with a fireplace screen.
- Use fireplace tools to maintain the fire, including a poker, shovel and brush.
- Don’t leave the fire unattended, or with children in the room.
- Keep a fire extinguisher nearby in case of an emergency.
Another important step of fireplace safety is to never burn unseasoned firewood. Green wood has more moisture, which leads to the release of more smoke and pollutants when burned. The residue left in the fireplace could lead to a very dangerous chimney fire.
Smoke & CO Detector Safety
Smoke and CO detectors save many lives each year. However, if they malfunction due to a dead battery, lives are put in danger. At least once a month, test the detectors in your home and replace them completely after 10 years.
For maximum safety, smoke and CO detectors should be installed and interconnected throughout the house. Outside each sleeping area and on multiple floors of the home is optimal, so that everyone is alerted of a fire or carbon monoxide leak.
To avoid carbon monoxide poisoning, keep grills outside and move your vehicle from the garage to the driveway if you let it run for several minutes to warm up.
Establish a Home Escape Plan
Every family should have a home escape plan if the smoke or CO detector is activated. Children should know to stay low to avoid inhaling toxic smoke, safe places to exit and where to meet outside of the house. The escape plan should be practiced with the entire family so that everyone knows what to do if there’s an emergency!
Trantolo & Trantolo is committed to public safety and the preservation of rights. If you’re hurt, learn how our Personal Injury Attorneys can assist you.