Holiday Season Fires Result in $500 Million in Property Damage

The winter holidays are a time for celebration, and that means more cooking, home decorating, entertaining, and an increased risk of fire. According to the National Fire Protection Association, fires started by candles and Christmas trees account for nearly $500 million in direct property loss each year.

Facts & figures
• During 2005-2009, U.S. fire departments
responded to an average of 240 home structure fires that started with Christmas trees per year.
These fires caused an average of 13 deaths, 27
injuries, and $16.7 million in direct property damage annually.
• During 2005-2009, an estimated 12,860 home structure fires started by candles were reported
to local fire departments. These fires resulted in an estimated 136 civilian deaths, 1,041 civilian
injuries and an estimated direct property loss of $471 million.
• Two of every five reported home fires start in the kitchen — more than any other place in the
home.
• Half of all home heating fires occurred in December, January and February in 2005-2009.

Now would be a great time to remind your insureds to take extra precautions this year while they celebrate the holidays. Here are some tips that will help everyone have a happy and safe holiday season.

• If you have a live tree, keep it watered. When it dries out, take it down.
• Put decorations up, away from candles or hot lights–they could melt or burn
• Make sure candles are not near anything that could catch fire (drapes, decorations)
• Holiday lights: wires should be in good condition. If frayed, discard the string. Do not overload
plugs with multiple strings!
• Chimneys: If you’re using a fireplace, make sure the chimney’s been professionally cleaned
recently.
• Cooking: Don’t let pots & pans cook on stoves unattended–burned down food can start fires,
too!

What are some other tips you like to convey to your insureds around this time of year?

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