Staying Fire Safe this Holiday Season

Family on porch making roasted marshmallow

The holiday season is full of twinkling lights, delicious home-cooked meals and cozy nights by the fire. But celebrations can quickly go wrong if an electrical outlet sparks or a bonfire gets out of control. The best way to celebrate confidently is knowing fire prevention practices — Renown Health’s Safety and Emergency Preparedness Department has fire prevention tips to keep you and your loved ones safe.

Outdoor Fire Tips

As the holiday season approaches during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, outdoor gatherings might be a popular choice for families and friends who wish to spend some physically distanced time together. Patio heaters and bonfires can keep us warm on chilly nights, but they can also be fire hazards. Here are some outdoor fire safety tips:

  • Fire pits should be at least three feet away from anything that can burn, including homes and bushes.
  • Using a fire pit with a metal screen can keep sparks from floating out.
  • Have an extinguisher available in case of an emergency.
  • Keep an eye on the fire at all times.
  • Completely extinguish a fire in a pit by drowning it with water.
  • During strong winds, do not use a patio heater that could easily fall over.

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Fires While Cooking

Unattended cooking is the leading cause of fires in the kitchen, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Whether you are cooking outside on the grill or preparing a feast indoors, here are some kitchen safety tips to heed:

  • Keep the kitchen counters or area around the grill free from clutter.
  • Remain by the grill or stove while cooking. Use a timer and regularly check on items in the oven to ensure they are not burning.
  • Keep an extinguisher in the kitchen.
  • Keep pets and children out of the kitchen while cooking.

Home Safety Tips

Fires can happen outside of the kitchen or backyard. Electrical outlets can get overloaded during the holiday season with twinkling lights and space heaters, or candles might get accidentally left unattended. Here’s a list of reminders to keep your home safe:

  • Install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and test them monthly. 
  • Follow these electrical outlet safety tips from NFPA, including unplugging electrical cords when  appliances are not in use.
  • Keep candles out of reach of children and pets, and follow the NFPA’s candle safety tips.
  • Work with your family and household members to form an escape plan. This plan should include a variety of different scenarios with safe escape routes and a meeting spot outdoors.
  • Teach kids safety using NFPA’s Sparky the Fire Dog website.

Fires are unexpected and frightening. Keep your family and friends safe by coming up with a plan and practicing fire safety tips as often as possible.