Disaster Preparedness

Winter & Holiday Safety Tips

Between cold weather and the holiday season, winter can be a dangerous time of year in terms of home fires. According to the US Fire Administration, the top three days of the year for fires started by candles are Christmas Day, New Years Eve, and New Years Day. Consider using flameless, battery-operated candles, which can look, smell and feel like a real candle. These battery-operated candles can also be very helpful during a power outage.

Other things to consider this time of year are:

  • Only use decorations that are not flammable.
  • Check holiday lights each year for frayed wires or excessive wear.
  • Don’t link more than three strands of holiday lights.
  • Never leave a burning candle unattended. Consider using battery-operated, flameless candles.
  • Keep your live Christmas tree away from heat sources and room exits.
  • Water your live Christmas tree daily to keep it from becoming dry.

There is one very important item that needs to be checked off every holiday to-do list: having a fire escape plan and practicing it. Be prepared before a fire starts.

  • Make a plan. Talk about what you should do if a fire occurs. Include what each person will need to do to get out safely. Help everyone understand that fire is fast and smoke is a poison that kills.
  • Think about the needs of each person in the home. If someone uses a cane or wheelchair, decide who will help him or her get out. If someone uses a hearing aid or eyeglasses, be sure that these items are kept next to the bed.
  • Make sure that you have a working smoke alarm on every level of your home. Put alarms inside and outside all sleeping areas. Test your smoke alarms regularly to make sure they work. Make sure that everyone can hear the smoke alarm sound. Without a smoke alarm, you may not wake up, and the poisonous smoke can kill you in your sleep. Visit our website for more information on our Smoke Alarm Program.
  • Find two ways out of every room. Knowing two exits is important in case one is blocked or dangerous to use. Know how to open doors and windows that lead outside.
  • Know where to meet outside your home. If the smoke alarm sounds, go outside. Call 911 from the outside meeting place, which is a safe distance from the home.
  • Practice your plan. Everyone should be included. Walk through the steps that you will take if the smoke alarm sounds. Make sure that everyone knows what to do to get out safely. For more information about fire escape planning, please visit our website.


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