Getting ready to do some holiday entertaining at home or headed out to a club to ring in the new year?
While winter holidays are a time for families and friends to get together, there is a greater risk of fire. Following these few simple tips from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) will ensure a truly happy and fire-safe New Year celebration.
• Test your smoke alarms and tell guests about your home fire escape plan.
• Keep children and pets away from lit candles.
• Keep matches and lighters up high in a locked cabinet.
• Stay in the kitchen when cooking on the stovetop.
• Ask smokers to smoke outside. Provide deep ashtrays and wet cigarette butts with water before discarding.
Nightclubs and other public assembly buildings
Before you enter
• Is the building in a condition that makes you feel comfortable? Is the main entrance wide and does it open outward to allow easy exit? Is the outside area clear of materials that may block exits?
• Have a communication plan. Identify a relative or friend to contact in case of emergency.
• Pick a meeting place outside to meet family or friends if there is an emergency.
• Look for all available exits and be prepared to use the closest one.
• Make sure aisles are wide enough and not obstructed by chairs or furniture. Check to make sure your exit door is not blocked or chained.
• Are there fire sources such as candles burning, cigarettes or cigars burning, pyrotechnics, or other heat sources that may make you feel unsafe? Are there safety systems in place such as alternative exits, sprinklers, and smoke alarms?
During an emergency
• If an alarm sounds, you see smoke or fire, or other unusual disturbance, exit the building immediately.
• Once you are out, stay out. Under no circumstances should you ever go back into a burning building. Let trained firefighters conduct rescue operations.
• If you want to ring in the new year with fireworks, the safest way is to attend a public display conducted by trained professionals.
• Do not use consumer fireworks. In 2017, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 12,900 people for fireworks-related injuries.
• Fireworks start an average of 18,500 fires per year, including 1,300 structure fires, 300 vehicle fires, and 16,900 outside and other fires. These fires caused an average of three deaths, 40 civilian injuries, and an average of $43 million in direct property damage.
• After the fireworks display, don't let children near any fireworks that are left over; they may still be active.