Prevent Home Fires This Holiday Season

With increased activity in the kitchen and heightened energy use to combat the cold, families are at greater risk of home fires during thespace heater winter holiday season. The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) is encouraging families and communities across the country to take simple precautions to ensure that this celebratory time of year does not result in a fire-related tragedy.

Many of these simple precautions seem like common sense, but are often overlooked due to the hectic nature of the holiday season. In addition to taking preventative measures like testing smoke alarms, it is critical that families create and practice their fire escape plan to minimize tragedy if a fire does occur.

Follow these basic safety guidelines to help protect your family, guests and home from holiday home fires:

– Stay in the kitchen when food is cooking. Unattended cooking is the leading cause of home fires in the United States.

– Keep children at least three feet away from cooking appliances. Never leave a child unsupervised while cooking or when an electric or gas stove is within reach.

– Keep towels, pot holders, curtains and other flammable items away from hot surfaces.

– With greater activity in and around your home comes increased energy use. Be careful not to overburden your electrical system.

– Keep space heaters out of high-traffic and exit areas, and at least three feet away from any combustible materials.

– Do not use space heaters in rooms where children are unsupervised.

– Turn space heaters off when you go to sleep or leave the room. Never leave a space heater unattended.

– Install smoke alarms inside each bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of your home. Test smoke alarms once a month to ensure they are working properly.

– Make sure everyone in your family recognizes the sound of the smoke alarm and knows what it means.

– Plan for a fire emergency before it happens. Be sure to explain your family fire escape plan to overnight houseguests and babysitters.

For more information, please visit www.holidaysafety.org.

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