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Along with boughs of holly, holidays are fraught with fire hazards. The National Fire Protection Association urges caution when decorating and entertaining this season. Read their tips for staying safe.
While it may seem Scrooge-like to think about fire hazards during the holidays, many of the activities people engage in - cooking, entertaining, and decorating - all present increased fire risks. According to the nonprofit National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), candles and Christmas trees play a role in these incidents.
Fortunately, the vast majority of holiday fires are preventable, says Lorraine Carli, NFPA's vice president of communications. "Certainly, no one needs to abandon their holiday traditions and activities," Carli says. "But by understanding where potential hazards exist, and making some minor adjustments, people can greatly increase their homes' and loved ones' safety, and enjoy the season as planned."
NFPA offers the following information and advice to ensure a festive and safe holiday season:
Cooking: Cooking equipment fires are the leading cause of U.S. home fires and fire injuries, and the third leading cause of home fire deaths. In 2008, relative to an average day, the number of home cooking equipment fires was 55 percent higher on Christmas Eve and 68 percent higher on Christmas Day.
Christmas Trees: U.S. fire departments annually respond to about 260 home structure fires that began with Christmas trees. One third of them are caused by electrical problems, and one in five resulted from a heat source that's too close to the tree.
Candles: December is the peak month for home candle fires, with Christmas Eve and Christmas Day representing two of the five top days for associated fires. NFPA statistics show that more than half of all candle fires start when placing them too close to things that can burn.
For additional resources and information about holiday fire safety, including audio clips, videos, and safety sheets, visit www.nfpa.org/holiday.
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