December 4, 2019
Do not let the busyness of the holiday season overshadow the safety of your house. Increased cooking and baking, decorating and entertaining can mean increased risk of fire and accidents. The following list is courtesy of the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors website.
• Choose holiday decorations which are flame-resistant, flame-retardant and non-combustible, whenever possible.
• Check lights for frayed wires, broken sockets or bulbs and loose connections. Mount lights by stringing through hooks or use insulated staples to avoid damaging the cord’s wire insulation. Never pull or tug lights to remove them. If putting lights up outdoors, check to be sure they are certified for outdoor use.
• Use ground-fault circuit interrupters for outdoor electric decorations to avoid potential shock.
• Never use electric lights on a metallic tree. The tree could become charged with electricity from faulty lights and, if touched, the person could be electrocuted.
• Turn off all lights when you go to bed or leave the house. The lights could short out and start a fire.
• Keep open flame candles away from decorations and other combustible materials, including evergreens. Place candles on non-flammable holders where they cannot be knocked over.
• Unattended cooking is the leading cause of fire in the U.S., so turn off the burner if you need to leave the room.
• Test smoke alarms and let guests know the fire escape plan.
• When selecting a live tree, check to be sure it has green needles, do not easily pull off the branch and do not break if you bend them between your fingers. Place the live tree away from fireplaces, radiators and portable heaters.
• Before placing live tree in stand, cut a few inches off the trunk to expose fresh wood to allow better water absorption. Be sure base is steady to prevent tree from tipping over. Keep water full to avoid tree drying out which becomes a fire hazard.
Enjoy the happenings of the season knowing you have taken the preventable steps of having a safe home for the holidays.
To learn more, contact Janell at the Chouteau County Extension Office at 622-3036, email@example.com or in the green building next to the Chouteau County Courthouse at 1308 Franklin St in Fort Benton.
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Montana State University, US Department of Agriculture and Montana Counties Cooperating. MSU Extension is an equal opportunity/affirmative action provider of educational outreach.