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Joseph M. Ghabour & Associates LLC

Warm Homes, Safe Homes: Holiday Fire Safety

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According to the National Fire Protection Association, every year nearly 250 home fires start as a result of Christmas trees or decorations. There are many safeties you can put in place to prevent catastrophy.  Enjoy the holidays in safety and security! Be wise with your baking, cooking and decorating...

Stove & Oven Fire Safety

Check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors twice annually.

  • Test all detectors (ensure your detectors have a Test button or option)
  • Change batteries, even if they don’t “chirp” or indicate a need to be changed.
  • Upgrade detectors every 5-10 years.  They lose efficiency over time.

Stove Safety Tips

  • Use back burners first to keep the safest distance.
  • Use the properly sized pot for each burner. Never use a pot that is too small or big for the burner.
  • Never leave a burner on that does not have a filled pot or pan on it.
  • Do not leave an empty pan on a hot burner.
  • Ensure pan and pot handles are turned inward to avoid knocking them off and over.

Cooking Tools and Supplies

  • Keep oven mitts and other cloth and paper away from burners.
  • Use oven mitts and oven sticks to remove pots and pans from the stove top or oven.
  • Do not leave gadgets or utensils in pots, pans or near burners.  They may become hot to the touch, causing burns. Additionally, they may melt, causing damage and creating a potential hazard.

Inspect your stove and oven before and during use

Keep your nose sharp for the smell of gas. If you do smell gas, double check your burners to ensure they’re off.  If you suspect a gas leak, open a window, leave the area and call 911.

  • Prior to use, make sure there is nothing in the oven. Do not use your oven for storage.
  • Position your oven racks before pre-heating to prevent burns.
  • Close the oven door immediately after removing or testing food.
NEVER leave something cooking while you are outside of the house or asleep.
Most cooking fires happen when stoves or ovens are left unattended. 
Keep appliances clean
Food particles and residual grease can ignite and cause a fire.

Inspect your body and clothing for risks

  • Tie back long hair.
  • Roll up long sleeves.
  • Remove loose jewelry.
  • Wear non-slip footwear

In case of fire

  • Before trying to put out a fire, evacuate everyone else from the home.
  • If you’re able to safely reach the burner knobs, turn them off.
  • NEVER use water on a grease fire - it will spread the fire.
  • Do not fan flames! Oxygen will feed and spread the fire.
  • If it is contained in a pan, throw baking soda on top of it or cover it with a metal lid.

The key to putting out a fire? You must SUFFOCATE IT.

  • Fires thrive on oxygen.  Use pan lids and, if necessary, a fire extinguisher to smother the fire.
  • If a fire occurs in an oven of any kind (microwave, toaster, convection, conventional), keep the door closed, as this will help suppress the fire, depriving it of oxygen.
  • Do not remove a lid or open the oven door until the pot or pan has completely cooled.
  • Use an ABC rated dry chemical extinguisher. Install it next to an exit so that you can safely back out of the kitchen and home if the fire gets out of hand.

If you are unable to put out the fire on your own, grab your family, your cell phone (if possible), get out and call 911.

Preventing Christmas Tree & Electrical Fires

Live Trees

  • Ensure you purchase a FRESH tree. Fresh trees don’t lose many needles and have a sticky, sappy trunk.
  • Water your tree regularly to prevent drying.
  • Check regularly for needle shedding.  Run your hand along the branches to check for dryness.  The drier the tree, the more needles it sheds.

Artificial Trees

  • Make sure your tree is labeled fire resistant.
With ALL TREES, keep away from candles, fireplaces, and all heat sources to prevent from catching fire.

Lights, Cords and Electrical Decorations

  • Ensure they are UL tested and certified.
  • Check all cords, bulbs, and parts for damage or wear.
  • Use decorations labeled indoors for indoor decorating ONLY.
Candles and Fireplaces 
Never leave open flames unattended or out of your sight.
  • Burn candles on a level, stable, heat-resistant surface.
  • Keep wrapping paper, fabric and decorations away from all sources of heat.
  • Do not burn wrapping paper in a fireplace, as it may ignite suddenly, creating a flash fire.
If your tree catches fire it can be consumed in seconds! Grab your family, your cell phone (if possible), get out and call 911.


This article is part of our series on Holiday & Winter Safety.  Keep on the lookout for more helpful tips and articles to keep you and your family safe this season!


The family at Joseph M. Ghabour & Associates wants to remind you that we’re here for you.  If you or someone you know has been injured in an accident, please let us help.  Give us a call at (877) 721-7201 or drop us a line.

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