Seasonal Safety: Avoid These 5 Winter Fire Hazards

When people think of wintertime fires, it’s usually in the cozy context of a fireplace. However, the coldest season also has its fair share of fire hazards. Over 900 people perish in winter home fires annually. These are real, dangerous events that need to be taken seriously. It’s essential you educate yourself and your family about some of the most common ways homes catch fire during the winter. Here are tips for avoiding five common winter fire hazards.

Water Your Christmas Tree

Having a live Christmas tree in your home conjures up an irreplaceable, nostalgic feeling in many. Just make sure that you take proper safety precautions, so your tree doesn’t catch fire. Your Christmas tree needs constant watering to keep from drying out. If you fail to give it ample hydration, the tree will become dry and brittle. Then it only takes a spark—possibly from heated twinkle lights—to set the whole thing aflame in seconds. If you’re going to get a live tree, consider waiting a couple weeks into December before bringing one home. The longer you leave a Christmas tree up in your house, the more likely it is to catch on fire. You should also remove the tree soon after the holiday, as it will dry out if left up for long.

Don’t Fry Turkey Indoors

Deep-fried turkey is becoming a staple of the holiday season. There’s something especially scrumptious about those tender pieces of bird. It’s important to note, however, that deep-frying a turkey can be extremely dangerous. You will need to heat up a massive container of oil to fry a whole turkey. If that vat tips over when you drop in the heavy bird, it can immediately cause a massive grease fire. These can spread quickly and only get worse if you add water. If you really want to fry a turkey, do it outside to limit potential damage should anything go wrong. Before you cook any kind of holiday feast, compare homeowner’s insurance quotes to find a policy that covers fire damage.

Don’t Leave Candles Unattended

Candles are often part of the holiday spirit. You might be tempted to leave candles burning while you sleep. This isn’t a good idea. If you’re going to burn candles, make sure you’re nearby to monitor them. It only takes one accidental bump for a candle to end up on your carpet.

Clean Fireplace, Shut Grate

Creosote in your chimney can be dangerous during winter when people tend to get more use out of their fireplaces. You can get special chimney cleaning logs to break up some of the buildup. Or you can hire someone to sweep out the chimney for you. Either way, make sure you don’t let your creosote get out of control. It’s also important that you shut the grate on your fireplace or pellet stove. Failing to do this can be a major fire hazard, as logs or sparks can easily fall onto the floor.

Make Sure Space Heaters Are Safe

You need to be sure that all space heaters are equipped with an automatic turn-off feature. If your space heaters are outdated, just get rid of them. It’s worth investing in safer heating technology when your life and home are on the line. Pets or small children can knock over a space heater, but won’t necessarily be able to tell you that something’s wrong. Safe space heaters eliminate some of the worries that comes with having to utilize these sometimes-risky devices.

Don’t slack off on your winter fire safety regimen this year. Staying on top of these potential dangers is worth it if it keeps you and your family safe this winter.