How to Prevent Fire Damage in the Home or Workplace This Holiday

christmas tree safety“Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…” Wait a minute, an open fire? Well, that really is nuts! Holiday time is prime time for fire danger in the home or workplace. And while it’s easy to think that you’ll never fall victim to such a scary situation, reality is there are more potential risks than you may realize—especially during the winter months. Fires get out of hand very quickly; in fact, it can take mere seconds for a single spark to fill a room with smoke. Add a Christmas tree into the equation, and the risk factor goes through the roof. A recent study shows that within three seconds of ignition, a dry Scotch pine is completely ablaze. Within 40 seconds, the festive tree becomes a distant memory, and the entire room is engulfed in flames that release dense—often deadly—toxic smoke. The good news? It can take less than one minute to help avoid such a tragedy. To stay safe this holiday season, start by remembering the three Ps: Prepare, Plan and Prevent. PREPARE. Smoke alarms should already be installed on every level of your home or office. It’s a good idea to test your smoke alarms every week, and while you’re at it, make sure you can hear them sounding off behind closed doors. If you have children at home or even at work—a child care center, for example—involve them in the testing to familiarize them with the sound of the alarm, and take the opportunity to discuss what they should do if the alarm goes off. You should also change alarm batteries at least twice per year. An easy way to remember? Get into the habit of replacing batteries when you change the clocks for Daylight Saving Time. PLAN. Be certain that your family and/or office staff have an emergency preparedness plan in place. Make a quick drawing of the floor plan and identify at least two exits in every room in case you need to escape quickly from a fire. Go over the plan together and identify a meeting place outside, such as a neighbor’s driveway or a neighboring business. It’s recommended that you hold fire drills and practice getting out of the house or office at least twice per year. Involving children in such drills is critical, but keep in mind that those with infants or very young children must do additional planning on how to get them to safety. Older children should be taught to stay low, feel doors before opening them, and never go back inside once they have exited. Our Emergency Preparedness Checklist provides 10 quick and easy tips to help you get started. PREVENT. We’ve all been schooled on ways to fireproof our homes or places of business throughout the year, but there are specific tips to prevent fires during the holidays—a hectic time when common sense can sometimes slip the mind! Some of these steps may only take a minute yet can help prevent what could be a lifetime of regret. If you have a real Christmas tree in your home or workspace, be sure to check the water in its stand daily and refill often. Your fresh-cut tree has been in the process of drying out since long before you brought it indoors. Watering will help it retain moisture and will also help delay messy needle drop. This video demonstrates how flammable a dry Christmas tree can be as opposed to a tree watered regularly. No matter what type of lights adorn your tree—the new LED variety or classic twinkling bulbs—be sure to turn them OFF whenever you leave home or work, and by all means before you go to sleep. A lit tree should never be left unattended. Beyond tree safety, take a look around at the rest of your holiday décor. Are stockings hung right above the fireplace? Are wrapped presents placed too close to the fireplace or other heating source? Are candles left burning for hours on end? Finally, are electrical outlets jam-packed with too many cords? These tips only scratch the surface; there are many more ways to play it safe. So give the gift of safety education this season—your family, friends and colleagues will be thankful when the only thing ablaze is the holiday spirit! Warm wishes to you and yours from all of us at LDR Cleaning & Restoration. LDR Construction Services, Inc. Cleaning & Restoration has proudly served all of northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin since 1991. LDR specializes in the complete repair of fire, smoke, wind, water and vandalism damage to both commercial and residential properties. Capable of handling any size loss and working with all types of insurance providers, the LDR disaster team is available 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. For more information, visit or call 1-888-874-7066. download the free Emergency Response Plan guide.  


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