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There is no place like home for the holidays, and we all sure have been spending a lot of time at home this year. While our celebrations and gatherings might look a little different, the same hazards apply. Our team at Strong Wall Construction is here to share some insightful tips to minimize fire damage and keep your loved ones safe in the months ahead.

KITCHEN SAFETY 

‘Tis the season to be in the kitchen, enjoying cooking and baking recipes from our family’s pastimes. This space is often the epicenter of the holidays. Kitchen fires are the number one cause of home fires. Follow our tips below to keep your festivities fire free.

  1. Be sure to stay in the kitchen when cooking so you can keep an eye on the food.
  2. Keep children at least three feet away from away from the stove.
  3. Make sure electric cords are not dangling off the counter within easy reach of a child.
  4. Make sure your smoke alarms are working and test them by pushing the test button.

Did you know…

  • Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, followed by Christmas Day, the day before Thanksgiving, Easter, and Christmas Eve.
  • In 2018, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated over 1,600 home cooking fires on Thanksgiving
  • Unattended cooking was by far the leading contributing factor in cooking fires
  • Cooking causes almost half of all reported home fires and home fire injuries

LOOKING AHEAD 

Thanksgiving is just the beginning of the holiday season, once Turkey Day passes, we all start to gear up for Christmas and Hanukkah. From Christmas trees to candles, to roaring fireplaces, the heightened risk for home fires continues into December, below are some helpful tips rounded up by Today from holidays past!

  1. Christmas trees and lights can overload your electrical circuits, increasing the potential for electrical fires and outages. Before decking the halls and decorating your tree, inspect the lights firs for cord for damage. Be sure to toss out old frayed or worn light strands from years past and replace them with new lights when necessary.
  2. A typical household circuit can power 70 strings of 50-bulb mini lights, or 300 to 600 strings of 50-bulb LED lights. If you plan to use more than these amounts, spread the light strands across multiple circuits to prevent an overload. Turn off all lights and decorations before leaving the house or going to bed. To make things a little easier, you can even install a timer to automatically turn on and off the lights during specific times of the day.
  3. Regularly water your Christmas Tress. Just a few days without water could be enough to dry out a tree, so do your best to water it every day. Once a tree is dry, it can easily catch fire easily.
  4.  Be sure your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors have fresh batteries, and test them to ensure they are working. Smoke detectors should be placed in each bedroom, in the halls adjacent to the bedrooms and on each level of the home, including the basement. Carbon monoxide detectors should be located in the hallway if you have a home that has natural gas or liquid propane gas. Combination smoke and CO detectors are also available. Safety experts recommends that all detectors be hardwired, 120-volt, with battery backup, and that they be interconnected, so if one goes off, they all go off.
  5. Don’t use old, flimsy extension cords. Extension cords should always be heavy-duty, quality cords that are grounded for fire safety. Never run extension cords under rugs or in areas where they pose a tripping hazard. Keep in mind that an extension cord is meant to be used as a temporary solution so if you’re using one on a regular basis, you may want to hire an electrician to install permanent power.
  6. Candles are responsible for starting 50% of home decor fires each year. While they may provide a festive ambiance and delightful fragrance, but they can put your home and loved ones at risk. This is especially true during the holidays when the top three days for home candle fires are Christmas, New Year’s Day, and Christmas Eve. Consider replacing traditional candles with flameless, battery-operated types, but don’t forget to turn them off when leaving the house as LED lights do get hot. Never leave a candle burning unattended and, if you’re going to be stepping away from the candle for several minutes, it’s safer to blow it out rather than risk a potential hazard. Always use a sturdy candle holder to keep it from tipping over or touching flammable surfaces. When decorating, keep candles at least 12 inches away from all flammable items,
  7. According to a 2016 report from the National Fire Protection Association, a leading factor contributing to home heating fires was the failure to clean chimneys. Since this chore involves more than sweeping soot, it’s best to hire a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep. Fireplaces and chimneys should be inspected by a professional chimney sweep every year — and again halfway through the season for new wood-burning installations, such as fireplaces or wood-burning stoves.

For more year round fire prevention tips, check out our blog “12 Tips for Preventing House Fires“. Know that our team of insurance restoration specialists are here for you this holiday season. As a locally-owned and operated general contractor serving the greater Baltimore Metropolitan area. Our team has over 30 years of insurance restoration and remodeling experience.

At Strong Wall we truly care about our customers. Should you experience any issues with home damage, we are here for you every step of the way.We’re founded on genuine customer care, quality work and transparent pricing. That’s the Strong Wall difference.

Strong Wall Construction has helped many families and businesses through the insurance process and rebuilt their home or business after a fire loss. Anyone who has experienced a loss due to a fire knows what a traumatizing and life changing event it can be. Fires occur without warning and spread quickly, leaving you and your personal contents vulnerable to an immense amount of damage.