December is the most dangerous month for house fires caused candles, with almost twice the number of candle fires than in an average month. Christmas is the peak day, followed by New Year’s Day and Christmas Eve. It’s easy to forget that the lovely candles used in thousands of homes during the winter holidays can be very dangerous. The Paul Silverstein Burn Center at INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center wants you to have a safe holiday season this year, and is encouraging families to utilize these important safety tips when celebrating the joyous season.
- Candles should be used by adults only, and used with care. Keep candles, matches and lighters out of the reach of children.
- Never leave a room with a candle still burning.
- Declare all bedrooms “no candle” zones as many home candle fires start in bedrooms.
- Keep candles far away from flamable items including cloth, books, paper, curtains, Christmas trees and decorations. Decorations are the most common item ignited during candle fires.
- Place candles in sturdy holders, away from spots where they could be knocked over by children or pets.
- Keep exits clear of decorations and be sure everyone in your home knows your fire escape routes.
Other fire risks around the holidays include:
CHRISTMAS TREES & TREE STANDS
- Tree stands must be adequately sized to hold the tree in an upright position to avoid tipping over.
- Tree stands should be contain a two-day minimum supply of water, covering the stem at least 2 inches
- Never let the water level recede below the cut end of the tree.
- Don’t use any additives in the tree water.
- Bulbs should not be larger than the 3-5 volt type.
- Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines when connecting light sets. When connecting light sets from different manufactures, the most restrictive guidelines shall be used.
- Each connected set of lights should be on a separate circuit. Only use extension cords with overcurrent protection.
- All decorative trim should be flame resistant material or be treated with a flame retardant product.
- Additional decorations surrounding the tree should be carefully placed to avoid sources of heat, such as light bulbs or heater vents. Don’t conceal or obstruct access to exits or fire extinguishers.