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Holiday Fire Safety

The Retail Duo was able to sit down with a twenty year, veteran Firefighter to discuss the importance of fire safety reminders when it comes to the holiday season, and everyday.

One thing that comes to mind for us are strands upon strands of lights, and people tending to overload power bars and outlets over the holidays. What are some other holiday decorating nightmares?

Over use of extension cords and overloading electrical outlets. This can lead to overheating causing fires and overloading the electrical breaker panel circuits . When using a real tree water it all of the time and check water levels often. Lastly, of course open flames, candles, and incense sticks pose a risk when left unattended.

When people are completing merchandise changeovers, oftentimes they have props and products stored in backrooms, and they get busy and shove these rooms full of items.

Yes, keeping these rooms clean and organized is key. In a retail store it is important to not drape decorating items (IE: fabric, ribbons, streamers) over fire exits, or obstructing fire exit signs.

In a commercial or retail environment, what are some other common hazards that you come across?

Do not block fire exits and do not obstruct electrical panel/service rooms (IE: with boxes, inventory, products)

It is important to make sure that employees have a good understanding of the operation of fire alarm panel, contact phone numbers for service info (contractor). If firefighters do show up on the scene, and they talk with you, staff should be prepared with the proper information. Cleaning materials that are flammable and contain chemicals should be stored properly in metal cabinets and labelled properly. Fire extinguishers in the store should be operational at all times. This sounds obvious, but is often overlooked. Sprinkler system should be equipped and operable and of course smoke alarms and CO detectors working.

Speaking of retail, that brings to mind clothing, and dryers. Do you see dryer fires a lot?

Clean dryer lint trap every load laundry and clean the exhaust pipe out yearly. It doesn’t hurt to have a fire extinguisher close by in the laundry area.

The holiday season means entertaining and parties. Moving from the retail environment, and focusing on the home, what are some residential carless hazards that cause fires?

The number one cause of fires: unattended cooking. Stay in the kitchen! Festive time means open flames and candles, and multiple cultures use different ways to celebrate, which often involve candles. Change batteries in smoke alarms every 6 months and have a working carbon monoxide detector located outside of the bedrooms. No smoking cigarettes inside if you can help it, which is another leading cause of fires in the home.

If you had one last piece of advice or takeaway that people can remember to integrate into their lives on a daily or weekly basis in terms of fire safety, throughout the entire year, what would that be?

Always make sure that you have working smoke alarms on every floor of your house. Always have an escape plan and if you have small children have a designated meeting place (IE; in the front yard by a tree) so that when the fire department arrives everyone can be accounted for. For the firefighters, it means a great deal in their tactics, knowing everyone is safe.

Cheers, and have great, and SAFE holiday season!


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