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How To Avoid the Need For Fire Restoration Services During the Holiday Season

On behalf of RESCON, we’d like to wish you a very happy holiday season! We hope you had a great 2016 and truly hope your 2017 is even better. And we really hope you don’t need fire damage restoration services. While there’s never a good time to have a fire or water damage, the holidays can be an especially horrible time to have to have restoration services performed. After all, the house is looking festive, you’re having people over, and there’s a general feeling of goodwill all around. Who really wants to have a major house problem right in the middle of the most festive time of the year? No one, that’s who! That’s why it’s important to take a few extra precautions in the weeks following the new years. We’re happy to help with any disaster restoration that comes our way, but we’d rather stop them from happening in the first place.

Candles

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: while incidences of fire have dropped over the years, candles are still one of the biggest causes when it does happen. After all, so many fires that we keep in our homes are controlled natural gas fires on stoves or in fireplaces. But candles don’t have many safety features. Many people get candles for Christmas, and Yankee Candle Company is now in the school fundraiser game...fundraisers that happen right around November! How should you protect yourself? While we won’t go so far as to say “don’t burn candles,” there are steps you can take. First, burn the candle on a fireproof plate, and make sure that it is completely flat. Keep everything flammable — absolutely everything — away from it. That includes ribbons, centerpieces, and other decorations that you have out for the holidays. Also, nip it in the wick early...literally, as longer wicks are more likely to create hot and airborne ashes. Finally, make sure to blow the candle out sooner rather than later. When people are enjoying a little too much adult eggnog, they can fall asleep and leave candles burning. Don’t let that be you!

Christmas Trees

Before Christmas, a real tree can look fresh and green, covered in ornaments and tinsel and making everyone smile. After Christmas, the needles quickly become dry and can turn your tree into an inferno with the slightest provocation. If you don't believe us, just watch how quickly a dry Christmas tree can go up in flames. Add wrapping paper and presents to the mix and you have a fire that goes up quickly and burns for longer. Candles are one of the most common causes of fires, as are fires that are started by the lights on the tree. How can you prevent this problem? First of all, keep your tree properly watered. Trees can absorb a surprising amount every day, so make sure to water it daily. Also, buy it later and/or discard it earlier. If you have to have your tree up right after Thanksgiving, then you’ll want it gone by Boxing Day (December 26). If you have to celebrate the entire twelve days of Christmas and won't take it down until January 6, wait until the third week of December to get your tree and put it up. Here’s a fun (and scary) side-note. Christmas trees were originally lit with real candles, which seems absolutely insane today. The first electric lights were put on a tree by a collaborator of Thomas Edison in 1880, with 80 red, white, and blue lights wrapping the tree (and these were incandescent lights, but the way, which lose about 90% of their energy as heat). Twenty years later they were marketed to the public, and the average strands of tree lights would end up costing about $2,000 in today’s money!

Cigars

Nobody would ever give cigarettes as a present, but for some reason expensive cigars are sometimes given as presents. Make sure it’s completely out before throwing it away. Or better yet, save your lungs and throw it away before you light it.

New Electronics

Lots of people get electronics for gifts, and new electronics never catch fire, right? Well, Samsung found out that wasn’t true when their Galaxy 7s started catching fire. And even though this happened to quite a few phones, it can happen to any electronic that has batteries or is plugged in. After all, when millions of anything are made, there’s always the chance that a few of them will be faulty.

Old Electrics

Have you ever walk through an antique shop, taken one look at the cord on an old lamp, and wondered how anyone was ever brave enough to plug that thing in? Old wiring is scary, and the damage caused by use over time certainly doesn’t help anything. For some reason, many of these trepidatious feelings are ignored around the holidays. People plug in old Christmas lights because they belonged to Grandma. They bring out the ceramic light-up nativity and stick the plug in the wall, forgetting the fact that you have an old, hot light resting right above the hay under the baby Jesus. How do you avoid these problems? If you have any questions about the integrity of some electronics, simply don’t plug them in. If you must display it, have them rewired by a professional electrician. The holidays can be a wonderful time, but a fire can quickly put a damper (or, in the case of candles, a snuffer) on your spirits. We hope you don’t need a restoration company anytime soon, but if something should happen to your home this January, contact RESCON!    

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