All too often during the holidays, you turn on the 6 o’clock news to hear about a house fire and a poor family that has lost everything. You can avoid being a statistic by following a few simple safety rules to keep your family, and your home, safe this holiday season. You can download a PDF version of this post to share with your family and friends here.
- Frying a turkey? Measure the amount of oil you will need with water first. Place the turkey in the fryer and measure how much water it takes to cover the turkey. Take the water out and then you will know how much oil to put in. If there is too much oil in the fryer, and you place the turkey in the pot, the oil could spill over and cause a fire.
- If you plan to have a real Christmas tree in your house, make sure that water stays in the bottom of the tree base holder. If a Christmas tree gets dried out, the heat from any Christmas lights you may have on the tree could generate enough heat to ignite the tree on fire.
- If you use space heaters, make sure they stay three feet away from anything that could catch fire.
- Make sure you check the batteries in your smoke detectors. We recommend that everyone change the batteries in all smoke detectors twice a year. An easy way to remember to do this is to change your batteries when the time changes in the spring and fall.
- Smoke detectors only last 7 to 10 years. So the entire smoke detector needs to be replaced somewhere during that time frame. Check with your local fire department on obtaining a free one if you cannot afford one.
- Check any extension cords that you may be using. Extension cords that have frayed wiring or appear burnt or melted at the plug need to be replaced. You also need to ensure you do not overload small household extension cords.
- If you have a fire extinguisher, check to make sure that it is in date. There is an expiration date on them. Also, an easy way to remember how to use them is the acronym P.A.S.S. – which stands for Pull, Aim, Squeeze, Sweep. Pull the pin, aim the nozzle at the fire, squeeze the handle and sweep the nozzle back and forth.
- Make sure you have an EEP (Emergency Escape Plan) in place and that everyone in your household is aware of it. Go over the plan with all family members and designate a meeting place outside. If you need to get out of your house due to a fire, have a central location where everyone can meet such as a tree in the front yard or the mailbox or a neighbor’s house. If you have to get out of a smoky house – CRAWL OUT. The smoke rises and the “good” air will be at the floor. If you cannot get out, stuff towels or clothing by the cracks of the doors to prevent smoke from getting in to the room. If you do get out safely, STAY OUT. Do not go back inside a burning building for personal belongings! Your life is much more valuable and important!
- Remember STOP, DROP and ROLL. If your clothes catch on fire, stop, drop to the ground, and cover your face with your hands while you roll.
- Teach any small children the dangers of playing with matches or a lighter.
- Be mindful of candles. If you love candles as much as I do, you probably have them all over your home. Never leave them unattended. They are the main cause of a number of fires every year.
- Last but not least, do not stay outside too long during the cold weather. Hypothermia is a serious medical condition. If you get wet while outside in the cold weather, you need dry clothes. Wet clothes will take away your body heat much faster.
Wishing you all a very blessed and happy holiday season!