Cinnaminson, NJ, December 23rd, 2015
During the holiday season, friends and family gather to enjoy each other’s company and the ambience of the holidays. Festive meals, decorations, candles and the warmth of a fireplace are all synonymous with this time of year. However, the holiday season is also a time when indoor air quality (IAQ) issues often occur and the number of residential fires peak.
Holiday IAQ issues can come in many forms, for example, many people use artificial fragrances and air fresheners during the holidays that release chemicals into the air that may act as a respiratory irritant or even an asthma trigger. 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 four times more likely to occur throughout 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.
“Indicators of an indoor air quality problem could range from people feeling stuffing or noticing odors to allergies, respiratory issues and even asthma attacks,” said Joe Frasca, Senior Vice President of Marketing at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “Visible soot on walls and surfaces is another common IAQ issue this time of year which is typically associated with wood-burning fireplaces and the use of candles.”
For people concerned about particulates, smoke residues, chemicals, gases and even microbial contaminants and allergens impacting their home’s air quality, EMSL offers testing services, sampling supplies, real-time monitoring equipment and even a multitude of easy-to-use test kits to identify indoor pollutants.
To learn more about indoor air quality, occupational, environmental, health and safety testing services, please visit www.EMSL.com, call (800) 220-3675 or email info@EMSL.com. For access to the complete line of home test kits, please visit www.EMSLTestKits.com.
About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider of environmental, indoor air quality and materials testing services and products to professionals and the general public. The company has an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies.