Give the Gift of Fire Safety This Holiday Season

Give the Gift of Fire Safety This Holiday Season

(NewsUSA)- Holiday cheer helps make the winter months the perfect time for fun, family gatherings, but decorations like Christmas trees and Chanukah menorahs pose fire-safety threats unique to this time of year. To ensure that fire does not become a part of your holiday memories, families should give each other the gift of fire safety knowledge.
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, the yearly national fire loss for December is estimated at $990 million. In fact, December sees a $300 increase in damages per fire compared to fires in the other winter months. Additionally, holiday fires account for more than 1,600 injures and 400 fatalities in the final month of the year. The Hartford Financial Services Group provides the following fire-safety tips from Dennis Smith, veteran firefighter and National Ambassador for the company's Junior Fire Marshal program, which will help keep you and your family safe throughout the holiday season:
* Children attending holiday parties at the homes of their friends should be able to locate all exits and plan an emergency escape route. Teach young children to stay away from open flames or other heat sources that may pose a risk to their safety.
* Remember to keep exits clear of decorations, ensuring that nothing blocks escape routes.
* Be especially cautious when plugging Christmas tree lights and decorations into an electrical socket -; don't overload power strips or surge protectors. Make sure holiday lights are unplugged and turned off before everyone goes to bed.
* Candles play an important part in many holiday traditions, but children must be reminded that matches and candles are tools, not toys. Only adults should handle them.
* The holiday season is the perfect opportunity to check your smoke detector and see if the battery needs to be replaced. Ensure that a working smoke detector is installed in an area where a Christmas tree is set up.
* Houses can become crowded at holiday time, with many children roaming unsupervised around the house. To prevent young children from burning themselves, make sure that all pot handles are turned inward and not hanging over the stove's edge.
For more fire safety information, visit www.thehartford.com/jfm.