News Column

Social Media Campaign Aims to Help Families Keep Holidays Accident-free

Dec. 26, 2012

Hopefully families are working to ensure a safe holiday season by following the 12 Days of Holiday Fire Safety.

Insurance Commissioner and State Fire Marshal Wayne Goodwin used social media and the Internet to promote "12 Days of Holiday Fire Safety," a campaign intended to help families prevent fires and injuries around the home during the holidays.

"Education is one of the most powerful ways to avoid tragedy this holiday season," said Goodwin. "And what better way to connect with people of all ages than through the power of social media and the Internet."

Adults and children are able to follow along with the Commissioner's 12 Days of Holiday Fire Safety program by "liking" any of the Department of Insurance Facebook pages,, or by going to to view safety tips that are updated daily. The program culminates on the twelfth day with an online quiz created by the National Fire Protection Association to reinforce the valuable safety messages.

The following is a sample of some simple precautions families can take to help keep their homes and families safe during the holidays and all year round.

Holiday Trees

--Choose a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched.

--Place your tree in a stand filled with water and be sure to add water daily.

--Ensure the tree is at least three feet away from heat sources, such as fireplaces, heat vents, candles and lights, and make sure it isn't blocking any exits.

--If you are using an artificial tree, make sure that it is flame-retardant.

Holiday Lights

--Use only lights that have the label of an independent testing laboratory on them.

--Make sure to select the correct lights for the area, as some lights are intended only for indoor or outdoor use.

--Replace any string of lights that has worn or broken cords, or loose bulbs connections.

--Turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed.


--Light candles carefully and keep them at least 12 inches away from anything that can burn, including decorations.

--Whether using one candle or more than one in a candelabra, kinara, or menorah, make sure that the candle holder is sturdy and always place it where it cannot be knocked over.

--Keep candles out of reach of children and pets, and never leave a child alone in a room with burning candles. Keep matches and lighters up high and out of children's reach.

--Do not place lit candles in windows where a blind or curtain could catch fire; make sure an adult is watching any candle placed on, or near tables, altars, or shrines.


--Cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires, and most cooking fires involve the stovetop. Create a "kid-free zone" of at least three feet around the stove and areas where hot food and drink are prepared or carried.

--Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.

--If you are simmering, baking, roasting or boiling, check the food regularly and remain in the home while food is cooking. Use a timer to remind you that you are cooking.

--Keep a lid nearby when you are cooking to smother small grease fires. Slide the lid over the pan and turn off the stovetop carefully. Leave the pan covered until it is cooled and NEVER try to pick up or carry a hot or burned pan. Never put water on a grease fire.

For an oven or microwave fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed.

For more safety tips that will keep you safe and warm in the cool weather months, go to the Safe Kids North Carolina website at or to the National Fire Protection Association website at

Source: (c)2012 the Richmond County Daily Journal (Rockingham, N.C.) Distributed by MCT Information Services

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