‘Tis the season to be jolly! No one wants to have to deal with fires, especially in the Christmas season when sadly, homes are more prone to fires due to the various Christmas decorations and other preparations. I encourage everyone to be careful with preparing for the holidays, because as the cliché goes, prevention is better than cure. Here are five simple steps you can take that can save lives and homes:
1. Maintain your lights.
It is normal for families to use the same Christmas lights year after year because they’re only up for a while anyway, and then put away the rest of the year. Thus, it is inevitable that these lights can wear out and we would be unaware of it. Before putting up those colorful, wonderful lights, inspect them first with utmost scrutiny—check for warm wires, worn-out wires, broken sockets, kinking, and any other symptoms of a potential danger. And when the time comes that you have to replace your lights, make sure to purchase lights from a credible, reputable brand. Better yet, get fiber optics.
It is pretty much self-explanatory. As much as possible, purchase only fire-retardant decorations. If you are not sure whether a product is fire-retardant, always ask the sales personnel. It is not worth it to assume when it comes to life-or-death issues. This condition also applies to buying the Christmas tree itself, if you are getting an artificial one. On the other hand, if you are getting a real tree, always keep it moist, as dry trees can burn up more easily.
3. Do not block exits and crucial pathways.
While it is indeed very tempting to envelop your home in colorful decorations in the spirit of the holiday season, remember that you have to keep important pathways and exits clear and empty. This is so that in the event that something untoward happens, you will have the proper means to escape your home. In this light, it will also help if you held a fire drill with the people in your home.
4. Do not leave lights and/or burning candles unattended.
Even if your lights are A-Okay, leaving them on for extended periods of time can cause them to wear out easily and become exposed to serious danger. Always turn them off when not in use. If possible, make a schedule wherein the lights and decorations can only be switched on at a certain time. Installing smoke detectors would also be a wise option.
5. Concentrate on your cooking.
This item may not be related to Christmas decorations, but it is still crucial to the holiday season. One can get lost in the preparations for Noche Buena, as there are relatives buzzing with glee in their chit chats, and kids running around all giddy about seeing everyone and receiving their presents. While it is the spirit of the season to reunite with family relatives and/or close friends, keep in mind the brownies in your oven, the spaghetti on your stove, and the dishes that can go wrong if left unattended. Set alarms, have someone remind you, do anything to make sure the food preparations go smoothly.
So there you have it! It really pays to be careful with the little things. A little inspection, a little caution definitely goes a long way. Have a safe holiday season!