At The Morgan Law Group, our Florida insurance claims attorneys know the holidays may look a little different this year, as the pandemic may change the way many travel, gather and shop. But some of the seasonal risks that accompany the holiday season remain as dangerous as they ever were.
Check Your Smoke Detectors
Smoke detectors are an integral part of any home’s safety.
The holidays are a perfect time to test your smoke detectors to help prevent damage and injury to you, your family, or any visitors.
If you cannot remember the last time you replaced the batteries, do so now. The hard truth is, 17% of deaths caused by home fires occur in homes where the smoke detector is not working. In those cases, 46% had missing or disconnected batteries; 24% had no batteries.
Kitchen Safety & Fire Prevention
Earlier this year we discussed the prevalence of Thanksgiving cooking fires and how they can be avoided. The same general tips apply to all holidays or cooking in general.
Never leave cooking food unattended. It only takes a small food splash to start a kitchen fire.
Likewise, take special care when using fryers, as they can ignite a fire, explode without notice, or tip over when unattended.
Working smoke detectors will help catch smoking, burning, or flames quickly in the kitchen and throughout the rest of the home.
Christmas Trees & Decoration Fires
Each year there are approximately 160 home fires caused by Christmas trees and decorations.
And while holiday decorations have become much safer over the years, it only takes a single frayed wire to ignite a dangerous and deadly fire.
When putting up festive holiday trees, lights, and decorations, ensure that you:
- Do not overload electrical outlets
- Check decorations for damaged or frayed wires, and discard them if they show any sign of breakage
- Choose flame-resistant or -retardant decorations
- Choose the proper lights, ensuring you use indoor lights inside only, and outdoor lights outside only
- Use clips, not nails, to secure lights to avoid damaging the cords
- Keep trees away from heat sources
- Water trees regularly and get rid of them before they fully dry out
There are many safe decorating options, including fake trees and illuminated objects. Check your local retailers or online resources for what’s new in holiday decorations.
Consider Using Flameless Candles
There are nearly three times more candle fires on Christmas day than any other day of the year.
Although candles have small flames, they are responsible for nearly 8,700 house fires annually. Of those, 60% start when something flammable is left too close to the candles, which is much more prevalent during the holidays. Wrapping paper, boxes, and packing supplies are all highly flammable and should be kept far away from candles.
If you choose to use real candles, with real flames — instead of a flameless candle technology —be sure they are lit on sturdy, clear surfaces, and that they are extinguished before you leave the room.
Build Fires Safely
Depending on where you live in Florida, it may become quite chilly in the winter months, which could bring the occasion to use your fireplace or wood-burning stove.
Before lighting either, be sure your chimney is clean and that the area around the heat source is clear. Do not use cardboard, wrapping paper, or trash as part of the kindling, as it may spread throughout the home without notice.
If you have an outside fire pit, keep the area clean and never place leaves, trash, or paper products inside the pit, as they may spread in the air to your home or others nearby.
Injuries and fires caused by fireworks may be highest on the Fourth of July, but 10% of all fireworks incidents in the country occur between December 30th and January 3rd.
Use fireworks with care, and never allow children to hold or light them without strict adult supervision.
Never aim fireworks at another person, home, or structure, and be sure to have a fire extinguisher nearby during their use.
If you have suffered property damage to your home, condo, or business, and would like to pursue an insurance claim but do not know where to start, contact our experienced Florida insurance claims attorneys at The Morgan Law Group, P.A. today at (850) 403-0992 to schedule a free consultation.