Fire safety tips

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General Safety Tips

  • Be sure electric cords from any and all appliances are not dangling off the counter within easy reach of small children. 
  • When cooking on the stove top, stay in the kitchen so you can keep an eye on the food.
     
  • Stay in the home when cooking your turkey, and check it frequently.
     
  • Keep the floor clean and clear of any potential tripping hazards.
     
  • Keep children away from the stove.
     
  • Never leave a child in a room alone with a lit candle.
     
  • Make sure smoke detectors are installed and in working condition with fresh batteries, and test them by pushing the test button.
     
  • Keep knives out of the reach of children.
     
  • Make sure children stay away from hot food and liquids.The steam or splash from vegetables, gravy, or coffee could cause serious burns.
     
  • Keep matches and lighters out of the reach of children-up high or in a locked cabinet.

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, followed by Christmas Day, Christmas Eve, and the day before Thanksgiving. In 2016, fire departments around the U.S. responded to an estimated 1,570 home cooking fires on Thanksgiving. Unattended cooking was by far the leading contributing factor in cooking fires and fire deaths.

Below is a list of items to consider when preparing for the Thanksgiving holiday: 

  • Make sure the turkey is thawed completely before attempting to deep fry.
     
  • When ice from a frozen turkey contacts a vat of hot oil, it expands over 1,700 times its original volume. This causes the oil to boil over and when the oil particle contacts a flame, a large eruption of flames, or a fireball, can occur.
     
  • Ensure that you have an portable fire extinguisher on hand as you are frying a turkey.
     
  • Do not use water to attempt to extinguish any type of oil fire.
     
  • Ensure you dry the turkey (which is completely defrosted) to prevent displacement between the oil and the water mixing.
     
  • Make sure that the propane tank and burner are separated by a minimum of two feet. Consider wrapping the hose in aluminum foil to prevent splattering hot oil from touching it.
     
  • Turn off the burner if the oil begins to smoke. Be extremely vigilant in monitoring the temperature by using a temperature gauge.
     
  • Place the fryer burner on a level surface clear of any combustible items, such as wood products or cardboard.

Christmas and Holiday Decorating

More than one-third of home decoration fires are started by candles. Decorations are usually placed too close to a heat source. 

  • Choose decorations that are flame resistant or flame retardant.
     
  • Keep lit candles away from decorations and other things that can burn.
     
  • Read carefully when selecting lights. Some lights are only for indoor. If you are using lights outside of your home please make sure they are outdoor ready lights.
     
  • Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. Read manufacturer’s instructions for number of light strands to connect.
     
  • Use clips, not nails, to hang lights so the cords do not get damaged.
     
  • Keep decorations away from windows and doors.
     
  • Test your smoke alarms and tell guests about your home fire escape plan.
     
  • Keep children and pets away from lit candles.
     
  • Keep matches and lighters up high in a locked cabinet.
     
  • Stay in the kitchen when cooking on the stove-top.
     
  • Ask smokers to smoke outside. Remind smokers to keep their smoking materials with them so young children do not touch them.
     
  • Provide large, deep ashtrays for smokers. Wet cigarette butts with water before discarding.

Christmas Tree Safety

Although Christmas tree fires are not common, when they do occur, they are more likely to be serious. A heat source too close to the tree, causes one in every four of the fires.

  • When picking the tree, choose a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched

  • Before placing the tree in the stand, cut 2” from the base of the trunk.

  • Make sure the tree is at least three feet away from any heat source, like fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights.

  • Make sure the tree is not blocking an exit.

  • Add water to the tree stand. Be sure to add water daily.



  • Use lights that have the label of a recognized testing laboratory. Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use.

  • Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. Read manufacturer’s instructions for number of light strands to connect.

  • Never use lit candles to decorate the tree.

  • Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed.
     
  • Get rid of the tree after Christmas or when it is dry. Dried-out trees are a fire danger and should not be left in the home or garage, or placed outside against the home.

  • Bring outdoor electrical lights inside after the holidays to prevent hazards and make them last longer.