Holiday Fire Safety Tips:
1. Make sure all smoke detectors in your residence are in working order. Making sure they have new batteries and the detectors are tested regularly will help ensure they are in working order. Most detectors that are over 10 years old need to be replaced.
2. With the weather getting colder, make sure you know the risks of using a space heater. Maintain a clear area around the heater. Be sure to keep space heaters away from areas where items may fall on or around. A good rule of thumb is to have everything 3 feet away from space heaters in all directions.
3. The kitchen is where families gather to cook holiday meals and connect with each other during the holidays. Unfortunately, it’s also where two of every five reported home fires start. Make sure to keep all children away from cooking hardware. It is also a good idea to know how to take care of a grease fire if you were to encounter one. DO NOT USE WATER. Keep the lid closed and place in back to smother the fire, or you can use an appropriate extinguisher. Do not cook a frozen turkey before thawing and never leave hot cooking hardware unattended. Cooking is the #1 cause of fires, both in Muscatine and nationally.
4. While decorative lights and other electrical decorations add to the splendor of the season, they can increase the risks of fire and electrical injuries if not used safely. Make sure to follow all manufacturer recommendations given for proper extension cord use. Be careful not to overload circuits with too many holiday decorations.
5. Christmas trees are not a common cause of fires but can be very hazardous. Please keep heat sources away from trees. Make sure all lights are free from breaks in the outer casing. Be sure to shut off all decorations before leaving the residence or going to bed. Always make sure the base of the tree is filled with water. When the tree starts to shed its needles regularly, it is time to say goodbye to that tree.
6. Chimney safety is often overlooked! Soot can harden on chimney walls as flammable creosote, so before the fireplace season begins, have your chimney inspected to see if it needs cleaning. Screen the fireplace to prevent embers from popping out onto the floor or carpet, and never use flammable liquids to start a fire in the fireplace. Only burn seasoned wood — no wrapping paper.
7. Having extra family members staying with you is a good time to go over a plan to have everyone exit the house in case of an emergency. Everyone needs to know the route to exit; be sure to have a good/safe meeting place. Also, make sure everyone knows the address in case an emergency happens – the first question the 911 dispatcher will ask is the address of the emergency!