Christmas Vacation: Don’t Let it Happen to You!

We have likely all seen the movie Christmas Vacation, can likely quote the memorable parts, and cringe when Cousin Eddie empties the trailer septic tank into the storm sewer. But watching Uncle Lewis ignite the Christmas tree is absolutely the highlight. But that could never happen, right? Or could it?

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Scene from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

On average, Fire Departments respond to 210 fires per year that start with Christmas trees. One out of every 31 Christmas tree fires results in a death. Every year, these fires cause an average of 7 deaths, 19 injuries, and $17.5 million in property damage. These numbers are staggering. And who wants to spend their holidays dealing with that aftermath?

A few simple things can minimize the risk and still be festive:

  • Use battery operated candles around flammable decorations that could easily burn.
  • If you use real candles, keep them away from things that could easily burn and in plain view so you won’t forget to blow them out.
  • Don’t overload outlets!
  • Replace burned out bulbs and don’t use lights that have worn out cords.
  • Water real trees daily! And make sure your dog doesn’t use it as a water bowl… and don’t let Uncle Lewis light his cigar next to it!

We all like a good holiday feast too, but cooking is the number one cause of home fires. With everyone in the kitchen this time of year trying to taste test the roast beast, it’s easy to get distracted. Here are a few tips to stay safe while being the holiday chef:

  • Keep the hot pads, wooden utensils, food packages and anything else that can burn away from the stove.
  • Don’t leave the kitchen while cooking!
  • If you do leave, turn off the stove.
  • Don’t wear loose clothing that could catch on fire.
  • If you are cooking with oils, keep a lid handy in case a fire does occur – slide the lid on the pot and turn off the heat until the pot is completely cool. Do not use water or a fire extinguisher!
  • If there is a fire in the oven, keep the door closed and turn off the heat.

Wishing everyone a wonderful holiday season, wherever you are and however you celebrate!

~Heather Korth

 

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