Holiday Safety

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Author – Dave Hannah

Soon our family and friends will be gathering at our homes for the holidays.  Some of our best memories of our lives involve our family and friends getting together to catch up with all the new children and pets and hearing stories from our loved ones. We get to relax, have some good food and drink and spend some quality time just enjoying these moments. 

Unfortunately, sometimes these moments may turn to tragedies.  Safety planning for the holidays can prevent some awful events in your home.

As the season turns colder, our fireplaces and woodstoves will be supplementing our heat and providing our homes a warm and inviting ambiance for our gatherings.  But the burning fireplace and hot woodstove can become dangerous places for young children and pets running around our homes. 

Some safety planning is called for in advance to prevent serious injuries.

The opening of a fireplace can feel great to be near to a child or a pet.  Some dogs and cats love to sleep in front of fireplaces and close to a hot woodstove.  Even glass doors on a burning fireplace can produce severe burns.  Having a pair of fireplace gloves handy can prevent burns and offer some protection should a log roll out of the fireplace unexpectedly. 

A child or pet should never be left alone in a room with a burning fireplace or hot stove.

Decorations on mantels of fireplaces look beautiful but can result in a fire should the decorations fall and end up in the fire.  Greeting cards on mantels commonly will fall down from the heat coming up from the fireplace opening and can result in a fire.  If a woodstove in installed in a fireplace anything falling on top of the stove is a hazard.

As our homes are made ready for larger numbers of people, chairs and other furniture get moved to accommodate the crowd.  It is important to remember the distance needed around any stove is usually around 36.” Using this imaginary yard stick as a rule, you can prevent any items from getting too close to the stove or fireplace. 

Children and pets are likely to get excited and run around in play.  Running near a hot woodstove can result is a severe tragedy.  Most stove shops sell child safety guard/fences to prevent a child or pet from falling against a hot stove. If you know that children and pets will be visiting your home for the holidays, it’s a good precaution to pick up one of these safety items in advance of their visit.

Holiday trees and other types of decorations continue to be safety hazards.  Faulty electrical connections, tangled wires and decorations may end up too close to a hot stove or fireplace.

Be sure you are disposing of any ash from the fireplace or woodstove in an airtight container made for this purpose and do not place this container on a combustible surface.

Be sure you have already had your chimney inspected and cleaned. Consult with a professional sweep on this site and ask about additional holiday safety for your home. 

Enjoy a safe holiday this year with your families and friends.

~ Dave Hannah

Holiday Safety is reprinted with permission from

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