It's officially winter in my neck of the woods. We've got a few inches of snow on the ground already. Winter is the season for skiing, sledding, playing in the snow. It's the season for snuggling up to crackling fires, gingerbread scented candles glowing softly in the evening, and twinkling lights on your Christmas tree. It's also the deadliest season for home fires. My friend Gin knows the horror of awakening in the middle of the night to the smoke alarm and watching your house go up in flames from the street. It's something you never want to experience.
I asked my firefighter friend for some tips on avoiding fires and staying safe this season. Here's what he had to say:
1. Keep stuff (garland, tinsel, rugs, papers, clothes) away from portable heaters and the heat vents - they get hotter than you think.
2. Don't leave candles burning. You'd be surprised how many fires are caused from candles. I almost never burn candles because I'm pretty sure the kids would somehow find a way to burn the house down with them. Try out THESE flameless candles instead.
3. Know what to do in case of a fire, where to go, where to meet. Stop drop and roll of course :)
4. Make sure smoke alarms work! and that your kids wake up with the sounds of them. It isn't enough to have smoke alarms. You need to make sure the batteries work. Change the batteries at least twice a year when you change your clocks. The best choice in smoke alarms are ones that are hardwired with a battery back-up in case the power goes out. That way, when one alarm goes off, they all go off. And, of course, make sure you have one on every floor and in or near every bedroom in the home.
5. Make sure the flue is open when using a fireplace. Also use the protector in front of the fireplace. Some have glass others have a chainlink protector. Use them and keep whatever you're burning in the fireplace.
6. Keep matches and lighters out of the reach of kids.
7. Follow manufacturer's instructions when stringing lights on your tree. Don't do the Clark Griswold thing and plug 20 strands into the same outlet. Unplug lights before going to bed or leaving the house. Keep live trees moist.
8. Have a fire extinguisher handy and know how to use it. Oh yeah, fire extinguishers have a shelf life and don't last forever so make sure it works or you might be forced to use a bottle of Coke to put out a fire. Not that that's ever happened to us or anything. Just sayin'...
Doesn't reading that make you want to go check out your house and make sure everything is in working order? It totally made me want to make sure everything was safe. So, go check your homes. Yes now. I'll wait. (insert lovely holiday music). Are you back? Did you realize you could use another smoke alarm or fire extinguisher? Well, you're in luck. From now until December 19th, you can save 20% on fire safety products in the Kidde store on Amazon.com. All you need to do is click on "Give the Gift of Safety" on kidde.com or visit the Kidde Amazon Store directly and enter 85BR5532 as the promotion code when checking out.
And leave me a comment here for a chance to win a fire safety kit from Kidde! This kit (retail value $100) includes
- 1 Living Area Fire Extinguisher
- 1 Battery CO/Smoke Combo
- 1 DC Nighthawk Carbon Monoxide Detector with Digital Display
I'll choose a random winner on Thursday, December 4. Good luck and be safe!