Chances are, your employees will have some time off around the winter holidays, even if only for a few days. You want them to come back to work after the holidays feeling relaxed and refreshed, not stressed out or worse—injured. In order to give your employees the proper holidays that they deserve, you need to help keep them safe off the clock from things like home fires.
Residential fires are more common during the winter holiday season than during any other time of the year (source). Now that’s a sure way to ruin family holidays, right? Spreading awareness and sharing holiday fire safety facts is an easy way to make sure your employees return from their mini-vacations feeling great and ready for the job!
Food should never be left cooking while no one is around to keep an eye on things. Cooking is actually the number one cause of holiday fires (source). The best way to prevent kitchen fires during the holidays is to stay in the area and keep an eye on the food. Large meals often have long cooking times, so we understand that you’ll have to pop out of the kitchen every now and then. At the very least, make sure your smoke detector is functional, keep a working fire extinguisher handy, and maintain a tidy counter to avoid fire hazards.
There are a variety of ways people decorate their homes for the holiday, lights are one of the most common. Whether you’ve got a light show display for your neighborhood or you just hung a few strings of holiday lights for a festive interior, decorative lights can be a serious fire hazard. Around 150 annual house fires are caused by these twinkling strands of holiday cheer (source).
Never use string lights that appear damaged, cracked, or frayed. Old cords and faulty wiring are an easy source of electrical fires. Pair up these lights with a drying Christmas tree, and you’ve got yourself one heck of a holiday disaster just waiting to happen.
Firefighters respond to more than 200 house fires involving Christmas trees each year (source). Trees are highly flammable after they’ve been cut down, and they continue to dry out more and more every day. Check out this video from the NIST about the importance of watering your Christmas tree!
Christmas trees can easily cause a whole-house fire in a matter of minutes. Keep your tree watered and safely decorated. Never place your tree near the fireplace or any candles, and never use old or damaged lights on them! The only glow from your Christmas tree should be your string lights.
Candles & Fireplaces
These are probably the most obvious fire hazards in any home. Candles make really great decorations any time of year, but some of us only actually light the ones on the dinner table during the holidays and big family get-togethers. The top three days of the year for candle fires are Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day (source).
Fireplaces should be kept clean and clear at all times. Trash and wrapping paper should go in the recycling bin or the trash can—never the fireplace! Keep everything away from an open fire by at least three feet to prevent a living room bonfire.
A home fire can cause injuries, fatalities, and losses of all sorts on so many levels. Make sure your employees are kept informed about the dangers of holiday home fires, Christmas safety, and holiday shopping safety tips so they can return to work refreshed and ready to go!