There is no good time to have a fire in your business or home. Every year, we read about fires that occur during the holiday season. Many of those fires are caused by improper usage of holiday lighting, overloading of outlets or trees that have gotten too dry. Heating sources are also a leading cause of fires in the winter. Proper attention in these areas greatly reduces the risk of loss at work or home.

5 Things to Look Out For

Here are some things to consider for this winter season:

  1. An overloaded outlet can melt and catch fire. When putting up your holiday decorations, be sure that you are not adding excessive load to your outlets. Daisy chains of extension cords are a strict NO. Less is more when it comes to avoiding the fire risk!

  2. Kinked or smashed cords produce more heat and melt the insulation of the cord from the inside out. It’s time to throw damaged cords away. Don’t use them at home or at the office.

  3. Chimney fires happen quickly. Most chimney fires start inside the flue where there’s either creosote buildup or a flue blockage of some kind. As heat from the fire reaches these flammable materials, the creosote or blockage ignites, starting a chimney fire. Prevention starts with only using dry wood. Secondly, be sure to clean and inspect the chimney annually prior to use. If you are not able to do this, contact a local company that provides this service. It will be money well spent.

  4. Using the right wattage light bulbs for your lighting needs is critical. Using a light bulb with a wattage that is too high can lead to overheating of the light bulb. This heat can melt the light socket as well as the insulation of the wires. Once that happens, you put yourself at risk of arc faults, and this is something that could even lead to property fires. CHECK the wattage when you replace light bulbs.

  5. We all like a little extra heat from a space heater now and then. Space heaters cause about 1,700 fires a year nationwide. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), they are the culprits in 81% of fatal house fires. While electric space heaters can help keep room temperatures warm, they can also be dangerous and cause fires. Space heaters should never be left unattended or used within three feet of any combustibles and should always be plugged directly into an outlet.

Take the time to be certain that you are protecting your family, home or office from an accidental fire. It can be as simple as following basic guidelines. If you are unsure or have questions, contact your local fire department. Most have staff that is happy to help you find the proper answers for your situation. They can also direct you to local electrical contractors for proper installation or repairs, if needed. Don’t be a victim this winter. Stay vigilant.