What Are Fire Hazards Around Portable Heaters And Christmas Decorations?
As you decorate your home this season, be aware of fire hazards around portable heaters and Christmas decorations. These fire risks can lead to a blaze that can be dangerous or even deadly.
With the chillier weather this winter, many of us need extra heat to keep warm. Portable heaters are a great way to do just that, but they can also be dangerous if used improperly. Using them too close to combustibles, like curtains or upholstered furniture, can cause a fire. Be sure to set a 3-foot safety zone around your space heater, and keep it away from walls and other flammable objects. It’s also important to plug your heater into its own wall outlet, not an extension cord or power strip. This will prevent a loose connection from sparking a fire that could spread to other areas of your home in minutes. For added protection this season, consider installing connected smoke and heat sensors connected to a smart security system. These will automatically sound an alarm if unsafe levels of carbon monoxide are detected in your home, or if your space heater is being used without proper supervision.
Christmas decorations can be a great way to bring the holiday spirit into your home. However, they can also pose fire hazards if not used safely. One of the main fire hazards around Christmas trees is dry needles. Real trees burn easily when they are dry, so it’s important to water your tree daily. Keep your tree away from heat sources, such as radiators or fireplaces and place it three feet away. If possible, use a tree stand with an alarm that warns you if the water is low or if a fire starts. In addition, make sure all electrical outlets are capped and insulated to prevent accidental contact. Unplug decorations before leaving the house or going to bed and ensure that bedroom doors are closed at night.
Candles are a popular way to create the perfect holiday atmosphere in the home, but they can also be dangerous if they are not used safely. The US Fire Administration reports that Christmas candle fires account for more than 11% of all home candle fires each year. The best way to keep candles safe is to make sure they are kept up high and out of reach of children. Matches and lighters should also be stored up high out of sight and reach. In addition, candles should never be placed near flammable holiday decorations such as trees or wreaths.
Carbon monoxide is a dangerous gas that can build up in homes if fuel-burning appliances are installed or used incorrectly. Common household appliances that can produce CO include furnaces, boilers, stoves and ovens. Fireplaces, barbeques and camping stoves also produce CO. Portable generators, small gasoline engines and car exhaust from attached garages are also sources of the poisonous gas. When exposed, CO accumulates in the blood and attaches to hemoglobin, a protein that carries oxygen throughout the body. This can lead to symptoms such as headaches, nausea and weakness. The best way to protect yourself and your family from CO is by installing and using carbon monoxide detectors. These alarms are designed to alert you of the presence of the toxic gas in your home and are generally fairly easy to install. When a carbon monoxide detector sounds, you should evacuate your house as soon as possible and seek emergency help.