Safety Tips: Winter Fires

By David Touchton
www.servprobartowlakelandhighlands.com
nationaldisasterrecovery.org

 

Something that all people enjoy during winter season is a cozy fire when it is confined to the fireplace. According to a U.S. Fire Administration report, winter residential fires result in $1.6 billion in property damage along with 3,485 injuries and 945 deaths every year. With people cooking indoors more, using heaters and fireplaces with greater frequency and Christmas decorations going up, the possibility of a fire is greater than at any other time.

Statistically, between 5 and 8 p.m. are the peak times for a residential building fire to happen, so it does not take a lot reading between the lines to imagine the human factors at work. Fortunately, there are a number of safety tips that people can follow to avoid heating up their holiday season.

Simple Awareness is Important

• Candles
A candle has a dangerous open flame. Because of this, people should be careful where they place them. Candles that are near windows can set curtains on fire if the wind pushes them over the flame. They can also ignite books or paperwork on shelves.

People should always burn candles using a candle holder and never put them directly over a flammable surface. Aside from that, a jar candle is safer because the flame is contained.

• Space Heaters
People should be very careful with the placement and use of a space heater. They should also never point a space heater directly at anything that is flammable such as a pile of clothing or newspaper. Additionally, they should not use one that has a missing safety guard, a worn out cord or a unit without a safety shutoff that automatically turns off the appliance if it gets tipped over.

• Holiday Decorations
Homeowners should water their Christmas tree regularly. This is because dry needles will burn with fierce intensity and go up with incredible speed. People should also pay attention to where the Christmas tree and other holiday decorations are placed. This is done to make sure that they are never near sources of ignition such as a heater or fireplace.

• Hot Ashes
After the fire has been put out, fireplace ashes are still hot. If a person is planning to clean out their fireplace, they should not place the ashes in a plastic garbage can, a cardboard box or paper bag. Instead, they should only put ashes in a metal can that has an airtight lid.

Preventing Tragedies

People should always burn candles using a candle holder and never put them directly over a flammable surface.
People should always burn candles using a candle holder and never put them directly over a flammable surface.

• Never Create Sleeping Quarters That Do Not Have An Egress
Although it is easy for a homeowner to convert a room in the attic or basement into sleeping quarters for their holiday visitors, they should not do so if it there is no way to get out quickly and easily. This is because it can be a death trap in case a fire happens.

• Always Have an Escape Plan
During the smoke, chaos and heat of a fire, it is easy for people to become disoriented and confused especially at night. Everyone who lives in the home should understand the escape plan and how to get outside from every room in the house. 

• Do Not Forget the Escape Ladders
If a person is living in a multistory home, they should install escape ladders on all upper floors. They needs to reach all the way to the ground from the egress windows. Aside from that, every member of the family should know how to use and deploy it.

References:
http://www.inman.com/2012/12/07/12-fire-safety-tips-heed-during-winter/
http://kentfieldfire.org/fire-prevention/safety-education/69-winter-fire-safety-tips

David Touchton

Mr. Touchton is the President and owner of ServPro of Bartow/Lakeland Highlands. He has 4 years of experience in the field and holds Water Damage Restoration Certification from IICRC. His office is certified in applied structural drying, water damage restoration, and lead-based paint activities and restoration. His favorite part of the job is helping people who have experienced a stressful event and our ServPro team can make it “Like it never even happened”.