(BPT) - The holidays are the perfect time for families and friends to gather and enjoy time together over good food and celebrations. However, holiday revelry shouldn’t preclude safety. In fact, you may want to be even more vigilant than at other times of the year given the increased risks the festive season can bring.
HGTV star and Carrier Healthy Homes Ambassador Egypt Sherrod says, “From decorations and candles to cooking for many, the holidays also bring unexpected concerns and risks, which is why fire and carbon monoxide (CO) safety should continue to be top of mind. Prepare your home and your loved ones with fire safety resources and escape routes to mitigate fire and carbon monoxide risks and prevent incidents from occurring or becoming fatal.”
According to a nationwide survey1 commissioned by Carrier, more than 30% of people plan to host their loved ones for the holiday festivities this year. And yet, amid the preparations — from decorations to gifts and celebrations — 42% shared that potential fire and CO risks are a top concern heading into the season. To help you navigate the holidays safely, Sherrod shares safety tips to help prepare and protect your family and home this festive season:
‘Tis the season for fire safety!
Although it is important to be cautious of fire safety all year round, the increase in electrical decorations and the use of open flames and lights during the holiday period comes with a heightened risk of house fires. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), candles caused 45% of home decoration fires during December between 2015 to 2019. It’s important to be aware of the risks and know how to stay safe with the increased amount of fire hazards around the home during the holidays.
Fire safety tips for the holiday months:
- As eye-catching as string lights are, left unattended they can heat up and become a fire hazard. Consider using LED lights instead to minimize risk.
- Always unplug lights when you leave a room or the house to ensure that no hazards are left unattended.
- Keep candles away from inflammable surfaces, children and pets. Use either flameless LED candles or blow out real candles when you aren’t close by to monitor them.
- Ensure the smoke and CO alarms in your home are working properly ahead of the holidays. For greater control and peace of mind amid the celebrations, Sherrod says, “The Kidde Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm with Indoor Air Quality Monitor has the modern homeowner in mind, proving whole home interconnectivity and all the capabilities you need to manage your home safety systems with confidence — for one less thing to worry about this season.”
Cooking safety on, accidents off
The holidays are a time to indulge in plenty of delicious food, but this also leads to an increase in home fires across the U.S. In fact, Thanksgiving has the highest recorded rate of cooking related fires, followed by Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Of these fires, cooking equipment is involved in one out of every five (19%) home decoration fires due to decorations being left on or too close to the stove. And yet, of people surveyed1 by Carrier, 37% report they don’t currently have a fire extinguisher in their home if a fire occurs.
Cooking safety tips:
- Don’t use the stove if you’re sleepy or have had too much alcohol.
- Stay in the kitchen while you’re frying, grilling, boiling or broiling food.
- Keep anything that can catch fire — oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains — away from your stovetop.
- Equip your home with one to two fire extinguishers on every floor within easy reach to help create a path to safety and prevent a small fire from becoming fatal.
Temperature drops can cause higher risks
Winter’s colder, frigid temperatures bring the peak period for CO poisoning. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every year approximately 50,000 people go to the ER due to accidental CO poisoning. Colder temperatures and winter storms can quickly lead to frozen pipes and unforeseen water leaks too, causing costly damage to homes during a month when expenses are already high. Mitigate these unexpected concerns with proactive, simple tips and proper safety resources such as a working CO alarm.
Safety to-dos to protect your home during the colder months:
- Check that your ovens and stoves are installed properly; do not use them to heat your homes.
- Don’t use unvented space heaters or generators in an enclosed space.
- Ensure your space heater meets the latest safety standards, including an automatic cut-off device and guarding around the heating coils and burners. Position the heater at least three feet away from inflammable materials and turn it off when you’re not near.
- Clear debris and open ventilation points, such as chimneys and fireplace dampers.
- Install Kidde Water Leak and Freeze Detectors around your home. The Wi-Fi enabled device connects to the Kidde App, for notifications to be sent directly to a smartphone when there is a risk of flooding or temperatures dropping too low.
Follow these important home safety tips this year to ensure you and your family and friends stay safe and can enjoy the season’s festivities stress-free.
1Carrier Corporation Google Survey of 1,000 U.S. consumers aged 18+ fielded Oct. 27-30, 2022.