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Holiday Safety Tips from BSO Fire Rescue

Stay safe this holiday season by following these important safety tips.

Broward Sheriff's Office Department of Fire Rescue and Emergency Services

Holiday Safety Tips

For many of us, the holiday season is a time of family togetherness, festive decorations, great food, and a cause to reflect upon all that we’re thankful for. Unfortunately, the holiday season can also be a time of tragedy for many families across the country. There are more residential fires during the holiday season than during any other time of the year, and those fires statistically are more costly and more deadly.

Based on data from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), an estimated 240 home fires involving Christmas trees and another 150 home fires involving holiday lights and other decorative lighting occur each year. Together, these fires result in 21 deaths and more than $25.2 million in property damage. Below are some simple precautions to help protect you and your family this holiday season:

Christmas Trees – When purchasing a tree choose one that is flame retardant metallic or an artificial tree. If you buy a real tree make sure the needles are green and cannot be easily broken and the trunk should be sticky to the touch. Only use sturdy tree stands and keep it filled with water at all times. Trees should be kept away from any sources of ignition, such as candles, portable heaters and fireplaces.

Holiday Lights – Use lights that list an approved testing laboratory label. Inspect your holiday lights each year for frayed wires, bare spots, broken sockets and excessive kinking or wear. Do not link more than three light strands together. Make sure you periodically check the wires; they should not be warm to the touch. Do not overload electrical outlets. Always unplug your holiday lights before leaving home or going to bed.

Holiday Decorations – All decorations should be nonflammable or flame retardant and placed away from any heat sources. In homes with small children, take special care to avoid decorations that are sharp or breakable. Keep decorations with small removable parts out of the reach of children. Avoid decorations that resemble candy or food that may tempt a child to eat them.

Candles - Never use candles to decorate a Christmas tree! Make sure they are in stable holders and placed out of reach from children and pets. Extinguish candles before you leave the house or go to bed. Consider using battery operated flameless candles which can look, smell and feel like real candles.

Smoke Detectors - Smoke detectors save lives! Make sure you have smoke detectors installed on every level of your home, near your kitchen and by every bedroom. Test them every month to make sure the batteries are working. As a rule of thumb, smoke detector batteries should be changed twice a year when you change your clocks in the Fall and the Spring.

 

Holiday Cooking Safety Tips

 

During the holiday season, many of us will gather in the kitchen to prepare delicious meals to enjoy with our family and friends. Although many of us look forward to this time of the year, statistics show there are more residential fires during the holiday season than during any other time of year, and most start in the kitchen.

 

The men and women of the Broward Sheriff’s Office want you to be safe this holiday season.

To help reduce your chances of becoming a holiday season fire statistic, practice proper safety precautions and follow these simple safety tips:

 

  • Before you cook your holiday meal be sure the oven and stove top are in good working order and are clean and free of grease.

 

  • Food that is left unattended is a common source of fire ignition. Avoid distractions and never walk away from food cooking on the stove.

 

  • Pot holders, oven mitts, wooden and plastic utensils, paper and plastic bags, food packaging and towels are all flammable. Keep these items away from your stove top.

 

  • Keep pot and pan handles facing in to prevent children from tipping them over.

 

  • Do not wear loose clothing while cooking. Your sleeves can easily ignite on a hot stovetop. If your clothes catch fire: stop, drop, and roll! Call 911 immediately.

 

  • If you are planning on deep frying a turkey make sure you do it outside on a flat, level surface at least 10 feet from your home. Always make sure your turkey is completely thawed.

 

  • Make sure you have a fire extinguisher in your kitchen that is rated for all types of fires. These extinguishers can be purchased at most hardware and home improvement stores.

 

  • Smoke detectors save lives! Make sure you have smoke detectors installed on every level of your home, near your kitchen and by every bedroom. Test them every month to make sure the batteries are working. As a rule of thumb, smoke detector batteries should be changed twice a year when you change your clocks in the Fall and the Spring.

 

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