The holidays are times for gathering with family and friends to enjoy good food and good company. Enjoying a fire in the fireplace, preparing food in the kitchen, and holiday ornaments and decorations are some of the best parts of the season. To keep everyone safe and help prevent accidents, be prepared for fire safety during the holidays.

Fireplace Safety During the Holidays

It’s nice to spend time with your family around a fire. Everyone can feel cozy and warm, enjoying the company of friends. Before lighting a fire in the fireplace, have a professional inspect the fireplace and chimney for cracks, broken bricks, and damaged mortar. Clean the chimney to remove pine needles, animal nests, creosote, and other flammable debris. Especially when young children or pets are present, use a fireplace screen to help contain embers, sparks, and ash.

Safe Holiday Décor

Many families decorate with real trees and greenery. This adds a festive touch to your home décor. Real greenery becomes more of a hazard the longer it is in your home. As the wreath, trees, and evergreen garlands dry out, they are more susceptible to catching fire. Water your tree daily. Use a spray bottle to mist your wreath and greenery used to decorate the holiday table.

If you’re using a real tree this year, keep it several feet away from the fireplace. Don’t use candles to decorate the tree, wreaths, or place settings that contain greenery. Choose LED string lights for your holiday tree because they don’t get as hot. When the needles feel dry and brittle, it’s time to move the tree out of the house.

When decorating with candles, make sure your candle holder is on a fire-resistant, level surface. Place candles in an area where young children and pets cannot bump into them or be burned by the flames. If your family uses candles to celebrate, teach children about being safe around fire.

Electrical Safety at the Holidays

When using extension cords for holiday lights and decorations, take care to keep them out of walkways. Don’t run the cords under rugs; they can be damaged by foot traffic, leading to a fire. When hanging holiday lights, check the label and look for UL ratings. Only use lights and decorations outdoors if they have been tested and approved for outdoor use.

Kitchen Safety

The kitchen is the busiest room of the house during the holidays. Food prep and cooking is a great way to spend time with your family. If you have help in the kitchen this season, create a workspace for each person. You’ll prevent crowding and accidents. Fire safety in the kitchen means keeping apron strings and long hair tied back and never leaving cooking food unattended. Use kitchen timers to avoid burning your holiday dishes.

Heating the Home Safely

To keep your home warm and comfortable, you might use space heaters during the holidays. Place a heater on a flat, level surface, and keep it at least three feet away from furniture, drapery, bedding, and decorations. Keep heaters out of reach of small children and turn off space heaters when you leave the house or go to bed.

Smoke Detectors are Essential for Fire Safety During the Holidays

Smoke detectors are safety essentials that save lives by providing an early warning in case of fire. Before guests arrive, test the smoke detectors in your home. Make sure you have at least one device on each floor of your home and in every sleeping area. Replace the batteries if necessary. Verify you have a working smoke detector in or near the kitchen. To prevent false alarms, the detector should be installed 10 to 12 feet away from cooking appliances.

Peconic Home Inspections offers home inspection services to Long Island. Contact us to request an appointment.