Safety Tips

Did You Know?

  • The U.S. Fire Administration reports 80% of all fire deaths occur in the home.
  • During the holiday season, there are over 1,200 fires and 190 fire injuries associated with improper holiday tree and candle care.
  • Most holiday fires can be easily prevented.
  • Having a working smoke alarm more than doubles one’s chances of surviving a fire.

Winter Tips

More than 4,000 Americans die each year in fires and more than 25,000 are injured. Many of them might be alive today if they only had the information they needed to avoid a disaster.
  • Make sure that space heaters have an emergency shut off in case they tip over. Only use the fuel recommended by the manufacturer. Never refill space heater while it is operating or still hot; refuel outside, away from the house.
  • Make sure wood stoves are properly installed away from combustible surfaces. They need to have the proper floor support and adequate ventilation. Never use flammable liquids (such as gasoline) to start a fire.
  • Have your furnace and chimney professionally inspected annually and cleaned, if necessary. Chimney tar build-up is a common cause of chimney fires.
  • Use a glass or metal screen in front of your fireplace to prevent sparks from igniting nearby carpets or furniture
  • Never thaw frozen pipes with a blow torch or other open flame. Use hot water or a UL-listed device such as a hand held dryer.
  • Dispose of hot ashes in metal containers placed away from the house.
  • Don’t use the oven to heat your home. In addition to being a fire hazard, it can be a source of toxic fumes.
  • If there is a fire hydrant near your home, keep it clear of snow for easy access
  • Install a smoke alarm on every level of your home. Test the batteries every month and change them at least once a year.

Candle Fires

Candles can fill our homes with fragrance and create a calming and welcome mood. They add glow to the holidays and are an important part of religious observances. But what you may not realize is how easily a fire can start when a candle is left unattended or left burning while someone sleeps. Like a lit cigarette or a pan on the stove, a burning candle without human supervision is a disaster waiting to happen. You can use candles safely in your home if you follow this safety advice:
  • Place candles on stable furniture, in sturdy holders that will catch dripping wax.
  • Never leave a candle unattended
  • If the power goes out, use flashlights for illumination; not candles.
  • Keep candles away from anything that can catch fire.
  • Place candles on higher furniture where they won’t be knocked over by children or pets.
  • Never place lit candles in windows where they could ignite curtains or blinds.
  • Don’t allow children or teens to have candles in their bedrooms.
  • Ask questions about the candles and candle-holders you buy. There are new standards that major manufacturers will follow to make sure the candles and candle-holders won’t break, tip over, or otherwise malfunction in ordinary use.
  • Extinguish candles carefully, using a long-handled candle snuffer or a soft, directed breath. Be careful not to splatter wax when extinguishing.