By Chris Muellenbach Chris@MKE-RealEstate.com November 14, 2016
I receive an overwhelming number of calls from fire victims and insurance agencies each year during the holiday season needing housing for families who have lost their homes to fires often due to cooking, electrical, or home heating accidents.
The number of residential fires reported on Thanksgiving Day is double the average of any other day of the year, with an average 1,550 fires reported nationwide, up 230% over the average day. The days with the second and third most fire calls are Christmas Day and Christmas Eve.
Unattended cooking is the leading cause of the holiday fires and deaths followed by cooking equipment.
Top 10 Causes for Holiday Fires
- Cooking equipment – 40% of all home fires are caused by cooking equipment.
- Heating equipment – Nation Fire Protection Association reports: “Heating equipment fires accounted for 16% of all reported home fires in 2009-2013 (second behind cooking) and 19% of home fire deaths (second behind smoking materials).”
- Electrical – Do not overload power strips. Indoors or outside, use only lights that have been tested for safety by a nationally-recognized testing laboratory, such as UL or ETL/ITSNA. Use only newer lights that have thicker wiring and are required to have safety fuses to prevent the wires from overheating.
- Candles – Put them in spaces where they are least likely to be knocked over. The Consumer Protection Safety Commission estimates there are more than 14,000 candle-related fires each year, which result in about 170 deaths and $350 million in property loss.
- Children – Kids are naturally curious, especially around candles, matches and lights.
- Deep Fryers and Grills – Place in on a safe, non-flammable platform.
- Fireplace safety – Never leave fires unattended an be sure to regularly clean your fireplace. Do not burn wrapping paper or plastic items in the fireplace. These materials can ignite suddenly and burn intensely, resulting in a flash fire.
- Christmas trees: It takes less than 30 seconds for a dry tree to engulf a room in flames, according to the Building and Fire Research Laboratory of the National Institute for Standards and Technology. Dried-out Christmas trees are involved in about 200 fires annually, resulting in 10 deaths, and about $10 million in property damage.
- Decorative Lights – Inspect lights and never use frayed or cracked wires. It is advised not to run together more than three strings of lights end-to-end. Turn off all holiday lights when you go to bed or leave the house. The lights could short out and start a fire.
- Decorations – Home made decorations add charm to your home. Be sure to keep them away from heat sources, fireplaces and candles. During November and December of each year, about 10,000 people are treated in hospital emergency rooms as a result of falls, cuts, shocks and burns related to holiday decorating.
By: Chris Muellenbach, Real Estate Broker, Muellenbach Real Estate - First Weber Real Estate Group