Wintertime in Madison – a time filled with the joy of the holidays, hopes for snow days, and dread of just how long this winter might last. Fortunately, before we start getting sick of winter (if you’re like some of us at A&J Specialty Services – that never happens!!), we get to enjoy Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the New Year, and the wonders they bring. But, holidays don’t come without their mishaps!
According to the National Fire Protection Association, cooking is the leading cause of all winter house fires. Most of them happen around dinnertime – between 5 and 8 p.m. Winter fires cause more than $2 billion in property damage, according to the NFPA.
Holiday decorations are a major cause of many winter house fires. Excluding Christmas trees, decorations caused about 860 fires a year between 2009 and 2013. Fifty percent of the time, a decoration is too close to a heat source like a fireplace or candle. Twenty percent started in the kitchen, and one out of six started in the living room, family room, or den. One in five house fires started by decorations inside a home (holiday or otherwise) happens in the month of December.
Thanksgiving is the first holiday we celebrate in the winter months (unless you count Halloween which, let’s face it, sometimes feels and looks like the dead of winter when there is an early snowfall or temperature plunge!) Anyway … Thanksgiving is the #1 day for home cooking fires, followed by Christmas Day, then Christmas Eve. Remember that decoration bit we just talked about? Well – 18 percent of cooking fires involve decorations catching fire because they are too close to the stove or other cooking equipment.
Back to stats from the NFPA, holiday decorations cause about 860 house fires every year between 2009 and 2013, Christmas trees excluded! Decorations too close to a heat source – like a candle or the fireplace – sparked nearly half of those fires. Twenty percent started in the kitchen, and one out of six started in the living room, family room, or den. One in five house fires started by decorations inside a home (holiday or otherwise) happens in the month of December.
Who doesn’t love a wonderful smelling pumpkin or cinnamon spice candle burning during the holidays? For many of us, scents are part of the magic of the holidays! However – back to that whole discussion about decoration fires, half of those fires were started by candles during the month of December. That stat drops 15 percent in November and January – so it’s clear candles are used much more regularly around Christmastime.
There are a few ways you can protect your home and family during the holidays and still enjoy all the glorious decorations. First, consider putting your Christmas lights and other powered decorations on a timer so you don’t have to worry about turning them on and off. A timer that can also be controlled through your smartphone is an added plus!
For decorations, you need to manually turn off (or blow out like a candle), set an alarm on your phone for right around the time you go to bed each night reminding you to take one last look around the house to be sure everything is set for the night.
And if a fire does happen, know you live in a great community that will rally to help, and A&J Specialty Services is here to help you through the entire emergency fire and water restoration process and recovery.