Learn how to safely decorate, heat, and cook in your home this winter holiday season.
The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) is providing safety tips to prevent household fires and accidents caused by improper heating, cooking, and holiday decorating practices. Statistics show that the incidents of home fires and electrical accidents typically increase during the winter holiday season.
“Between 2014 and 2018, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 160 home fires that started with Christmas trees per year,” said ESFI President Brett Brenner. “ESFI reminds consumers to take steps to safely decorate, heat, and cook in their homes this winter holiday season to prevent these avoidable fires.”
ESFI’s website holidaysafety.org offers a variety of free resources that can be shared with your family, workplace, and community. Follow these tips to prevent electrical and fire hazards as you enjoy the holiday season:
- Keep anything that can catch fire away from your stovetop.
- Always unplug countertop appliances when not in use.
- Double-check that everything is off when you finish cooking.
- Prevent fires by keeping your oven and stovetop clean of grease and dust.
- Never leave the kitchen while cooking.
- Never cook while tired, drinking alcohol, or taking medication that makes you drowsy.
- Never disable a smoke alarm while cooking.
- Children should be closely supervised and kept at least three feet away from all cooking appliances.
- Keep anything that can burn at least three feet from heat sources.
- Never leave a space heater unattended. Turn off when leaving a room or sleeping.
- Never plug a space heater into an extension cord.
- Never use a cooking stove to heat your home or dry clothes.
- Place space heaters on level, flat surfaces on the ground.
- Have a qualified service professional inspect your heating system annually.
- Install and maintain carbon monoxide alarms.
- Never use a space heater or appliance with a damaged cord.
- When purchasing a live tree, check for freshness and be sure to water your tree daily.
- When purchasing an artificial tree, look for a fire-resistant label.
- Carefully inspect decorations before use. Cracked or frayed sockets, loose or bare wires, and loose connections may cause a shock or start a fire.
- Only use electrical decorations and lights that have been approved for safe use by a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory.
- Avoid plugging too many decorations into a single outlet. Overloaded outlets can overheat and cause fires.
- Ensure cords are not pinched in doors, windows, under heavy furniture, or rugs that could damage the cord and cause a fire.
- Always unplug decorations using the gripping area. Pulling on the cord could damage the wire and present a shock or fire hazard.
ESFI is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to promoting electrical safety at home and the workplace. For more information and to use ESFI’s free resources throughout your community, visit esfi.org.