An increase in indoor activities during the holidays combined with entertaining family and friends and shopping can cause many to forget some basic safety measures
Jacksonville, FL (Vocus) December 7, 2009
With the approach of the holiday season, it is important to remember to take steps to protect loved ones and property from the risk of fire. Paul Davis Restoration, Inc., a national franchise company and leading provider of fire and water damage clean up and restoration services for residential and commercial property, offers the following advice and tips that can help protect homes and families during this joyous time of year.
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, each year there are more than a hundred thousand residential structural fires in the month of December alone causing hundreds of millions of dollars in damage. By taking time out to do some planning and preparation you can ensure this holiday season is a safe one.
J. "Sonny" Bass, Paul Davis Restoration’s Technical Director of Emergency Services, encourages everyone to make safety awareness a regular part of their holiday planning. “The holiday season is exciting, however decorative displays, cooking for large groups and other activities can also increase the risk of harm,” said Bass. “An increase in indoor activities during the holidays combined with entertaining family and friends and shopping can cause many to forget some basic safety measures,” he said.
Paul Davis Restoration is committed to promoting safety in all communities where we work and live. Below are tips we all should include in our safety planning during the holiday season.
Holiday Decorations. Use only non-combustible or flame-resistant materials to trim a tree. Never use lighted candles on a tree, near other evergreens or other flammable materials. Consider reducing the number of candles used during the holidays or eliminating them all together – especially where children are present. Place candles where they will not be knocked down.
Lights. Check all tree lights before hanging them on your tree. Make sure all the bulbs work and that there are no frayed wires, broken sockets or loose connections. Before using lights outdoors, check labels to be sure they have been certified for outdoor use. Be sure not to overload electrical outlets with holiday lights.
Trees. When purchasing a live tree, check for freshness. When purchasing an artificial tree, look for the label "Fire Resistant." When setting up a tree at home, place it away from fireplaces, radiators or portable heaters. Cut a few inches off the trunk of your tree and fill the stand with water to keep it from drying out and becoming a fire hazard.
Fire Escape Plan. The holidays are a good time to review your fire escape plan with your family. Make sure everyone understands the escape routes and where to meet once outside. Also, conduct a “fire drill” to practice your escape plan.
Smoke Alarms. Make sure your home smoke alarms are in proper working order by pushing the test button. Change the batteries at least once a year.
Fire Extinguishers. Make sure there is a working fire extinguisher in the kitchen, laundry room, and garage and that it is capable of putting out all three types of fires. If you don’t know how, learn how to use it.
Fireplace/Chimney. Be sure your fireplace and chimney have been inspected and cleaned by a professional chimney sweep. Before lighting any fire, remove all greens, boughs, papers, and other decorations from fireplace area. Check to see that the flue is open. Do not burn gift wrapping paper, boxes, etc. in the fireplace. A flash fire may result as these items will ignite quickly and burn intensely.
According to Bass, additional tips include keeping a list with all of the important phone numbers that you, your family, or a babysitter are likely to need in case of an emergency. Include the police and fire department, your pediatrician and the national poison help line. “Implementing the proper safety measures can help prevent personal injury and property damage. If you have questions, talk to a professional in the restoration and emergency mitigation service industry,” he said.
“In the unfortunate event that you experience property damage to your home or business due to fire, contact a licensed, professional fire damage clean up and restoration company as soon as possible. Delaying the start of this work, can result in additional cost and stress during the holidays,” said Bass.
Paul Davis has been a leader in residential and commercial loss mitigation, reconstruction, and restoration services since 1966. As a national full-service restoration expert, Paul Davis Restoration has franchise office locations throughout North America. Visit the website at http://www.pdrestoration.com .