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Not surprisingly, December is the peak time of year for home candle fires. "Keep candles up high enough away from children and pets and never leave home or go to bed with holiday lights on or candles lit. Use battery operated, flameless candles instead". Unattended cooking remains one of the top causes of home fires. Make sure smoke alarms are tested monthly and create and practice a home fire escape plan with everyone in the home to stay safe well beyond the holiday season. Trees that have dried out over several weeks burn faster than fresh, well-watered trees.

Although Christmas tree fires are not common, when they do occur, they are more likely to be serious, according to the USFA. From real trees draped in blinking multicolored lights, to menorahs left burning on the windowsill, homes and apartments are awash in celebratory lights. These fires caused an annual average of one civilian death, 41 civilian injuries and $13.4 million in direct property damage. Only use lights that are tested and approved by an independent testing laboratory. Connect no more than three strands of mini string sets and a maximum of 50 bulbs for screw-in bulbs.

Space heaters: Home heating equipment is second to cooking fires for causing home structure fires. Almost half of all decoration fires happen because decorations are placed too close to a heat source, like a space heater, vent or fireplace. Do not forget to keep at least three feet of clear space around it and set it up on the floor unless it is designed for other use. Keep an all-purpose or Class ABC rated fire extinguisher nearby to get a kitchen fire under control.

¯ Check your smoke alarms to make sure they are in proper working condition.

If a pot or pan on the stove catches fire, people are advised to smother the flames by covering the pan with a lid and use baking soda on shallow grease fires – not to turn on the overhead fan or throw water on a grease fire.


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