The holiday season is a time for friends and family to gather and enjoy each other’s company with the ambience of the holidays. Festive meals, decorations, candles and the warmth of a fireplace are all common during this time of year. However, the holiday season is also a time when indoor air quality (IAQ) issues may occur and the number of residential fires peak.
Some people use artificial fragrances and air fresheners during the holidays that release chemicals into the air that may be act as a respiratory irritant. Candles can not only release fragrances, but also particulates and soot that can stick to surfaces and cause air quality issues. Even real Christmas trees may introduce mold into a home.
Faulty fireplaces may allow particulates, carbon monoxide and other combustion gases to enter a home or cause a chimney fire. In fact, according to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), nearly 47,000 fires occur during the winter holidays. These fires claim over 500 lives and result in over $500 million in property damage. Cooking is the number one cause of fires during the holiday season and fires caused by candles are 4 times more likely to occur during this time. These are just a few of the reasons why it is so important that homes have both operational smoke detectors and carbon monoxide sensors.
The following are a few tips to help prevent fires and indoor air quality issues from occurring during the holidays:
• Keep candles to a minimum and be sure they are extinguished when people are not around
• Ensure there is enough ventilation to keep indoor pollutants from building up
• Avoid using artificial fragrances and air fresheners
• Dust holiday decorations stored in attics and other places outside before bring them into the home
• Be sure the fireplace is in proper working order and that there is an operational fire extinguisher in the home
• Keep real Christmas trees moist with plenty of water and keep sources of heat and open flames away for all types of trees and decorations
• Do not overload circuits or use holiday lights that are frayed and turn lights off when people are not around or have gone to bed
• Don’t leave food cooking in the kitchen unattended and deep-fry turkeys outdoors in a safe area away from the home
These are just a few things to consider during the holiday season to prevent indoor air quality issues and fire hazards. To learn more about this or other indoor air quality, environmental, health, safety, occupational or property damage issues, please visit the websites shown below.
Clark Seif Clark http://www.csceng.com
EMSL Analytical, Inc. http://www.emsl.com
LA Testing http://www.latesting.com
Zimmetry Environmental http://www.zimmetry.com
Healthy Indoors Magazine http://www.iaq.net
Hudson Douglas Public Adjusters http://HudsonDouglasPublicAdjusters.com