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winter houseThe holiday season is here, and with it the chilly winter months. As everyone heads inside to celebrate the holidays and keep warm, the chances of a home fire start to increase. House fires are more common in the winter than in any other season because of the increased amount of indoor activities, electricity and heating usage, and cooking. Keep your family safe this winter with these important fire safety tips.

  1. Thoroughly Check Your Fireplace
    When the temperatures drop you’ll want to light up your dormant fireplace immediately, but its best to take some precautions first. Fireplaces create creosote, which can easily ignite. Have a professional chimney sweep service your fireplace before you light it for the first time.
  2. Watch Out For Extension Cords
    Hanging Christmas decorations and lights can be a fun family activity, but the extension cords you need for all of the various plugs can pose a serious danger. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, home electrical problems account for 67,800 fires across the country during an average year. Read the label on your extension cord to ensure that it is set up safely and that you are not overusing it this holiday season.
  3. Practice Your Fire Escape Plan
    Even if you’ve taken every safety precaution possible, a fire could happen in your home unexpectedly. Make sure you’ve gone over a fire escape plan with your family and that you have practiced it. With your children, identify at least two ways of exiting every room in the house and check for stuck windows regularly. Teach your children to never hide during a fire and call out to firefighters if they need help.
  4. Make Sure All Fire Protection Equipment Is Working
    Every home should have working fire detectors and alarms on every level, but your household could also benefit from a home sprinkler system. The combination of a sprinkler system and a warning system can reduce injuries, loss of life, and property damage by at least 50%. If your home is equipped with these systems, have them tested regularly to ensure your safety.
  5. Beware Of Space Heaters
    While these portable heating units can make a room more comfortable and block out the cold, they also make for a serious fire hazard. If you use one, make sure that people and pets sit at least three feet away and don’t place them near curtains or tablecloths.

Being prepared for a fire and taking preventative steps are the most important things you can do in terms of fire safety. When you take these steps, you’ll be guaranteeing your family’s safety and a happy holiday season.