The New Hampshire Fire Marshal is urging everyone to be safety conscious this holiday season. With Thanksgiving approaching, the increase in cooking and holiday lighting like candles and other decoration poses an even greater potential risk of fires and fire-related deaths.
A recent report by the United State Fire Administration shows the average number of reported residential fires on Thanksgiving Day nearly doubles, compared to the average number of reported residential fires on all days other than Thanksgiving.
The New Hampshire State Fire Marshal’s Office, along with the National Association of State Fire Marshals, has issued the following tips to ensure a safe and happy holiday season.
Pay attention while cooking, especially when using oils and grease. Cooking appliances should be kept clean of grease build-up, which can easily ignite. Applying a lid to a small grease fire is usually the most effective and safest method of controlling it. Trying to carry a pan that’s on fire is extremely dangerous because it can ignite clothes or spill, causing severe burns. If the fire is inside your oven, turn off the heat and leave the door closed to cut off the fire’s air supply.
Young children should be kept away from cooking appliances to prevent any mishaps. It’s always a good idea to use back burners when possible and keep pot handles turned to the inside so they won’t be pulled or knocked over. Check stoves and other appliances before going to bed or leaving your home to make sure that the units are left in the “off” position.
With the increased popularity of frying turkey, NFPA and the National Burn Foundation warn consumers and discourage the use of turkey fryers. Tests have shown that many of the fryers have a risk of tipping over, overheating, or spilling hot oil, leading to fires and burns. The suggested alternative is to have a commercial professional prepare the turkey.
Inspect holiday lights each year for frayed wires, bare spots, gaps in the insulation, broken or cracked sockets. To avoid overloading electrical outlets, do not link more than three light strands unless the directions indicate it is safe. However tempting, it is not recommended to leave your lights burning overnight or while you are away from home.
If you choose to use lit candles, make sure they are in stable holders and place them where they cannot be easily knocked down. Never leave lit candles unattended. Lit candles should not be placed on or near your Christmas tree or near anything that can burn. Young children can be fascinated with a burning flame, so be sure candles are not in reach of curious hands.
General Household Safety
Now is a great time to make sure your smoke alarms are in working order and to review your home escape plan so that if in the event of a fire, everyone in your household knows how to get out quickly and safely. For even greater protection, consider installing a residential fire sprinkler system, which actually stops the spread of fire, protecting lives and property.