Monday, December 20, 2010

Have a Bright and Safe Christmas

During the holidays, our homes are filled with family and friends, good food and festive decorations. Candles are among our favorite Christmas decorations, and therein lurks danger. Nationally, more than 15,000 residential fires are caused each year by careless or inappropriate use of candles. In fact, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are the top four days for fires due to candles.

A few years ago, we attended a lovely holiday dinner party. As we helped ourselves to beautifully prepared food, served buffet style, something caught my eye–a paper decoration had slipped onto a lighted tea candle. I gasped, then hollered “The decorations are on fire!” The situation was quickly under control, but had we all passed through the line and gone to the table to eat, that fire could have been disastrous.

This year, let’s observe candle safety by following these rules:

– Place candles on sturdy metal, glass or ceramic holders.

– Ensure that candles are not placed near flammable materials, such as Christmas greens or paper decorations.

– Use lighted candles only in a room with a responsible adult present and awake. Falling asleep is a factor in 12 percent of home fires caused by candles and 26 percent of associated deaths.

– Never use candles in a bedroom. Almost 40 percent of home candle fires begin in the bedroom.

– Keep candles out of reach of young children. Young children and older adults have the highest death rate from candles.

– Never leave burning candles unattended.

Hopefully, everyone knows better than to place lighted candles on a Christmas tree. But be aware that many Christmas fires begin at the tree. Be sure that your Christmas tree lights don’t have worn, broken or frayed cords or loose bulb connections. Always unplug your Christmas tree lights when you leave home or go to bed, and keep your tree moist by watering regularly.

Safe, Happy Holidays, everyone!


Jean Henry Mead said...

Good advice, Mary. Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Carol said...

Thanks for making us aware dear and wish you Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!

MinaW said...

I used to work at a store that sold candles - they recommended that any candle in a glass holder should have some water in the bottom of the glass. That's because after all the candle has liquefied, it can break the glass.

One more hazard - long ago I had a cat with a long plumy tail which she liked to wave through a candle flame! She didn't catch fire, but after that happened, I didn't have any more candles for years. So watch out for pets.