Holiday Home Safety

The holidays in Hawaii are a joyous time with pot luck meals, parties and family gatherings. An important part of the festivities are the season's decorations. Being careful with holiday decorations can ensure you safely enjoy the season with your loved ones:With its distinct sights, smells, sounds and tastes, the holidays in the Hawaii are a special time and the most joyous season of the year. Decorating the Christmas tree and outside your home and cooking a delicious meal for the family, the holidays are a time of celebration. Statistics have shown that incidences of home fires increase during the holiday season, especially from holiday decorations, candles and Christmas trees. Christmas trees were the items first ignited in home structure fires during the holidays with more than four of every ten home Christmas tree fires caused by electrical problems or malfunctions.

Holiday Fire Safety

  • Use indoor or outdoor lights that have been tested for safety by at nationally recognized testing laboratory such as UL or ETL/ITSNA. Use only newer lights with thick wiring and are required to have safety fuses to prevent the wires from overheating.
  • When using outdoor lights, check the labels to be sure they have been certified for outdoor use and plug them in only ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) protected receptacles.
  • When purchasing a live tree, check for freshness. A fresh tree is green, needles are hard to pull from branches and do not break when bent between your fingers. The bottom of a fresh tree is sticky with resin, and when tapped on the ground, the tree should not lose many needles. Be sure to cut the bottom of the tree to expose new wood that will be able to soak up water.
  • When purchasing an artificial tree, look for the label "Fire Resistant". Although this label does not mean the tree won't catch fire, it does mean the tree is more resistant to burning.
  • Never use electric lights on a metallic tree. The tree can become charged with electricity from faulty lights and a person touching a branch can be electrocuted.
  • Make sure the tree is at least three feet away from any heat source. Try to position the tree near an outlet so that cords are not running long distances. Do not place the tree where it may block exits.

Kitchen Safety

Kitchen safety is also another safety precaution to be aware not only during the holidays but also year round. According to the United States Fire Administration, cooking fires account for 20% of all fires in residential settings.

  • If you have young children, use the stove's back burners whenever possible and keep children and pets at least 3 feet away from the stove.
  • When you cook, wear clothing with tight-fitting sleeves.
  • When cooking on the stovetop, always keep an oven mitt and a lid nearby. If a small grease fire starts in a pan, make sure you are wearing the oven mitt and smother the flames by carefully sliding the lid over the pan. If the fire does not go out, get out the home and call the fire department.
  • In the event of an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed to prevent flames from burning your clothing. If the fire does not go out, get out the home and call the fire department.
  • Keep pot holders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, towels, curtains, and anything else that can burn away from the stovetop. Clean up food and grease from burners and the stovetop.
  • Allow food cooked in the microwave to cool for a minute or more before you remove it from the oven and be sure to use an oven mitt. Open microwaved food slowly. Hot steam escaping from the container can cause painful burns.

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