Here’s a crazy statistic! According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), fire departments have responded to an average of 200 home fires per year between 2011 – 2015. The source of the fire? The Christmas tree! A Christmas tree fire can do serious damage to your mobile home, especially if it occurs when no one is there. The NFPA found that these fires resulted in “an average of six deaths, 16 injuries, and $14.8 million in direct property damage annually.” Furthermore, Christmas tree fires were found to result in death more frequently than other home fires. Okay, we’re done scaring you now. While the Christmas tree poses a serious threat, there are a number of preventative measures you can take now to avoid potential fires.
Safety tips for decorating:
- Make sure you purchase a freshly cut tree that’s well-hydrated. Dry trees are considered a hazard and are more prone to fires. You can water your tree just like any other plant if you think it’s too dry.
- Do a safety check on your Christmas lights. While it’s more cost effective to reuse the lights from last year, don’t let your frugality get in the way of your safety. It’s important you inspect the lights for frayed wires, cracked lamps or excessive wear as such signs can indicate a safety hazard.
- Check for the Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL) stamp of approval on your Christmas lights. UL is considered the gold standard when it comes to safe products. Avoid using any lights that were not approved by this organization!
- Place your Christmas tree three feet away from all heat sources. This includes the fireplace, heat vents, lamps, the oven, etc. Don’t give yourself a reason to worry when you’re outside the home.
- Don’t hang candles on the tree. Why anyone would do this, we have no idea. Avoid this idea completely and go the fake/plastic candle route instead.
- Remember to turn your lights off when leaving the home. The only thing worse than a Christmas tree fire is a Christmas tree fire that occurs in an empty home. With no one to mitigate the flames, you’re in serious trouble.
Follow these safety tips for other decorations around the home, not just the Christmas tree. Decorations can turn deadly if they’re too close to a heat source or are in disrepair. Check for frayed ends, cracked bulbs and that UL seal of approval before hanging.
In the kitchen
Time for another depressing statistic. According to the NFPA, the peak days for home cooking fires are on Thanksgiving, the day before Thanksgiving and Christmas day (in that order). Cooking around the holidays can be especially hectic if you find yourself rushed or are trying to tackle a new recipe. Take a look at the following safety tips to avoid fires and other disasters while cooking.
Safety tips in the kitchen:
- Don’t be afraid to kick people out of the kitchen. Depending on the size of your family, it’s possible to have a dozen or more people in your kitchen at one time. This is especially dangerous if there are small children or animals running around. Prevent any distractions or accidents by politely asking that the kitchen remain clear until the cooking has been completed.
- Childproof the kitchen. It’s easy to forget how many potential dangers there are in a kitchen. To start, make sure there are no sharp objects in reach or loose cords hanging off the counter. Maintain a clear boundary around the stove as children can easily burn themselves. You should also keep chairs or step stools away from the cooking area in case a child decides to climb up on them.
- Ask for help. You’re openly inviting a fire or other kitchen disaster if you try to do everything on your own. Nothing good will happen if you’re trying to cook a turkey, marinate the chicken, and dice tomatoes all at the same time. Grab some adults to assist you in preparing the meal.
- Don’t leave the kitchen until the food is ready to serve. You’ll be tempted to mingle with your relatives and friends during the cooking process – don’t. The NFPA reports that 33% of home cooking fires were caused by unattended equipment.
- Keep a fire extinguisher in the home. It’s possible you’ve been living in a home with a fire extinguisher for years without ever learning how to use it. If this is you, take the time to learn how to properly operate one. And if you don’t have a fire extinguisher in the home, what are you waiting for?
You’re probably already aware of the dangers of fireworks, but the statistics regarding injuries and deaths may just surprise you. According to the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC), there were an estimated 11,000 fireworks-related injuries in 2016 alone. While fireworks are more common around the 4th of July, they’ve also proven to be popular on New Year’s Eve.
Our first piece of advice is to simply avoid using them at all costs. Handling fireworks yourself is not worth it, considering their dangerous track record. We recommend you let the professionals handle them. If you do decide to take this risk, make sure you take every precaution.
Safety tips for handling fireworks:
- Look for the Common Class C rating on your fireworks. Like Christmas lights, you shouldn’t assume that all fireworks have been approved for use. Avoid purchasing fireworks online from unreputable sources or even from a friend. Limit your search to public fireworks stands. You can never be too careful with fireworks!
- Don’t approach a firework that’s failed to ignite. If you’ve ever lit fireworks, you know there’s usually a dud or two in the mix. Give these duds at least 30 minutes to light up before getting close to them. Instead of reigniting these, it’s strongly recommended that you place them in a bucket of water before disposing of them.
- Shield your eyes and ears. Try asking the people at the store where you buy your fireworks if they also have protective goggles and earplugs. You can also find these at hardware stores like Home Depot, Menards, Lowes, etc. A faulty firework can explode or even rocket in the wrong direction, which could result in hearing loss or eye damage.
- Keep the pets enclosed or indoors. Leaving a pet to roam while you’re lighting fireworks could cause them to run toward the fireworks or off into the distance. There’s really no guessing what they’ll do if they’re not contained within the home.
- Find a remote, wide open area to light the fireworks. Don’t light the fireworks in a residential area as it’s not only disrespectful to the neighbors but could also end with an innocent bystander being injured. It’s also against some city ordinances. Make sure the area where you’re lighting the fireworks is clear of buildings, crowds, and trees.
If you’re going over these safety tips with your kids, this infographic might be helpful.
Maintaining your pipes
While this isn’t necessarily holiday-related, your pipes will be at a greater risk of freezing and possibly exploding as the temperature begins to drop. Depending on where you live, you might have already started experiencing this cold weather.
Mobile home pipes are more susceptible to freezing as they’re located underneath the home. Cold air can easily reach and affect your pipes if they aren’t properly insulated. The most effective method of preventing frozen pipes is to apply heat tape. Heat tape is a cord or heat cable encased in electrical wiring that’s used to regulate the temperature of your pipes during the colder months. Applying heat tape now will save you a lot of time and costly repairs down the road.
If you’ve never had to deal with frozen pipes, take a look at our more in-depth guide on how to thaw them and prevent future freezing.
Enjoy a SAFE holiday with these mobile home life tips!
Taking safety precautions now will allow you to enjoy your holiday season worry-free. And don’t forget to keep these mobile home life tips in mind when you read our guide on how to decorate your mobile home to last the holiday season.