(BPT) - 'Tis the season for at-home entertaining - food, friends, family, fun and yes, even fires. Fire fighters respond to calls of nearly 400,000 home fires each year, according to the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA). Many fires occur in cold weather months as more people bring warmth into their homes with things like traditional candles or holiday lighting. These fires result in more than 15,000 civilian deaths or injuries annually.
Fire-proof the holiday season with these tips that safeguard your family and your home:
Reduce your risk of fire by using flameless candles. Though they look and smell like real candles, they don't pose the same safety risks. Scentsy Wickless Candles provide the light and ambiance of traditional candles without the smoke, soot or an open flame. With more than 80 fragrances to choose from and 100 styles of warmers available, there's a fit for every fragrance personality and home decor style.
Avoid outlet overload
Don't overload electrical outlets and extension cords with holiday lights or other electronics. Plug only one heat-producing appliance, such as electric blankets, irons, toasters or coffee makers, into a receptacle outlet at a time. Consider avoiding outlet overload by choosing battery-powered options when they're available.
Cook with care
Unattended cooking is the leading cause of U.S. home fire injuries, according to the NFPA. Don't stray too far from the kitchen if you're frying, grilling or broiling food. If you're boiling, baking, or roasting, be sure to check it regularly and use a timer to remind you when it's finished. Plug microwave ovens and other cooking appliances directly into an outlet. Never use an extension cord for a cooking appliance, as it can overload the circuit and cause a fire.
Establish a fire-safe home by installing fire extinguishers and smoke alarms. Use a portable fire extinguisher to save lives and property by putting out or containing small fires. Store extinguishers where they can be quickly accessed in areas with great fire risk, such as in the kitchen or near the garage door. Smoke alarms should be installed in every room of the home, except for the kitchen, and should be tested once each month.
Have a plan
Establish a fire escape plan with the members of your household, and practice it often. You should always have two ways to exit each room, typically a door and a window. Practicing in a casual environment will help children feel confident in executing your plan in an emergency. Choose a landmark outside, such as a tree in the neighbor's yard or the mailbox, as a meeting location for your family.
Following these fire safety tips will help ensure your memories of this fall and winter season are full of friends and family, not flames.